An Upland Unified staff member who sent an electronic message to parents and students that blamed China for the global coronavirus pandemic and disparaged the celebration of the Lunar New Year has been removed from the classroom, the school district announced Tuesday, Feb. 8.
The employee is no longer in the classroom and was placed on leave, according to a letter written by Upland Unified School District Superintendent Lynn J. Carmen Day and posted on the district’s website and social media accounts.
Carmen Day wrote that the staff member “shared hurtful and offensive messages about China and COVID-19” in a school messaging app. The superintendent said the district wants to send a clear message that “any disparaging statements about race, nationality, ethnicity, or any dimension of diversity will not be tolerated.”
Please see the attached statement from Superintendent Lynn J. Carmen Day regarding an incident at one of our schools on February 1st. pic.twitter.com/uaZfeYPZNh
— Upland Unified School District (@UplandUnifiedSD) February 8, 2022
However, the district did not name the school, the employee, or his or her position.
Carmen Day reiterated from a previous letter issued Feb. 1, the district was conducting an investigation into the matter. The district would not say if the staff member was a teacher and would not elaborate further, citing confidentiality concerns. District spokesperson Liz Puney-Muglia declined to answer questions Tuesday about the incident.
In a screen shot of the message obtained by this news organization from several parents, the staff member wrote:
“The school wants everyone to wear red tomorrow (Feb. 1) but I disagree and do not support the CCP,” which stands for the Chinese Communist Party, the political party of China.
“I am sorry and disagree. China gave us this Covid and will not wear red,” the thread continued. “Parents you need to wake up!”
Last week, the district acknowledged the remarks in a post on Instagram and Twitter, saying the staff member used the Remind App to send “insensitive and hurtful statements to families at one of our elementary schools.”
In a posted response on Instagram, Dianna Ho, a PTA member, replied:
“A large number of the AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) community in Upland, which I am a part of, appreciate the acknowledgment of and immediate resolution of this egregious act of hate by a teacher.”