A counselor and five teachers at Rubidoux High School were placed on administrative leave after making disparaging comments on social media regarding students who skipped class Thursday to participate in the “Day Without Immigrants” boycott, it was reported Sunday.
Although the educators’ Facebook comments have since been deleted, screenshot images of them were widely circulated on social media.
The offensive comments and educators’ discipline was reported Sunday by the Riverside Press-Enterprise and national news media. At least one of the teachers has publicly apologized, and the district superintendent called the remarks distressing.
In the thread, started by science teacher Geoffrey Greer on Thursday, five teachers and one counselor rejoiced over the absence of students involved in the walk out.
Greer characterized the students as “drunk,” and “lazy.”
“Having my class size reduced by 50 percent all day long only served to SUPPORT Trump’s initiatives and prove how much better things might be without all this overcrowding,” Greer wrote of the predominantly Latino students.
Science teacher Chuck Baugh commented that his classes were “quieter” and “more productive,” and said “let’s do this more often.”
“Yes, it was a very pleasant day,” art teacher Robin Riggle chimed in.
Patricia Crawford, a guidance coordinator, said that the cafeteria was “quieter” and that there was “less traffic on the roads, and no discipline issues” without those participating in the boycott.
“More please,” Crawford wrote.
Agriculture Teacher Rhonda Fuller said classes were less disruptive.
Allen Umbarger, a science teacher, described those missing as “failing students.”
The remarks were met by backlash, and prompted dozens of students to walk out of school Friday afternoon to march in protest, the Riverside Press- Enterprise reported. They chanted “Mexico, Mexico!” and “Que Viva la Raza!”
Others took to social media to vent their anger.
“To label people that are down to their last options as drunks or plain lazy is naive,” one responder wrote on Instagram. “As an educator you should know better.”
In a statement on Friday, the Jurupa Unified School District announced they had placed the six employees on administrative leave.
“These postings absolutely do not reflect the opinions or beliefs of the school district,” Superintendent Elliott Duchon wrote in a statement posted on JUSD’s website.
“I am distressed about these postings,” JUSD Board President Robert Garcia wrote in a separate message on the website. “I am calling on members of our community to come together to assure that our schools remain safe and our student’s voices are heard.”
Greer apologized on social media after deleting the original post.
“While I stand by my assertion that skipping school is no way to demonstrate one’s value to society, I do apologize for the harsh tone and hurtful structure of the previous message,” Greer wrote. “I hadn’t meant for it to come across as quite so scathing.”
–City News Service