Several teachers at a California high school are in hot water after posting a series of derogatory Facebook comments about students participating in Thursday’s nationwide “A Day Without Immigrants” strike.
At least five teachers and a guidance counselor from Rubidoux High School in Riverside, California, posted on Facebook Thursday that the large number of absences made their work days more productive and enjoyable. The comments prompted intense backlash after being shared by community members.
Superintendent Elliott Duchon of the Jurupa Unified School District told The Huffington Post that six staff members at the high school were placed on administrative leave Friday, though he would not confirm their identities.
The original Facebook thread was started Thursday by Geoffrey Greer, a social science teacher at the high school, and has since been removed.
“Having my class reduced by 50% all day long only served to SUPPORT Trump’s initiatives and prove how much better things might be without all this overcrowding,” Greer wrote. “Best school day ever.”
Immigrants across the country stayed away from work or missed school during the “Day Without Immigrants” strike, a grassroots movement protesting President Donald Trump’s controversial policies on immigration.
Greer claimed in his post that students participating in the day of action were merely using the cause “as an excuse to be lazy and/or get drunk.”
At least five other staff members joined in on the thread, including science teacher Allen Umbarger who wrote that “mostly failing” students were missing from his class.
Guidance counselor Patricia Crawford boasted that she didn’t have “any discipline issues” Thursday and agreed with science teacher Charles Baugh who said the students’ absences were so enjoyable that he would welcome more days without them. Agriculture teacher Rhonda Fuller said her classroom was less disruptive without the students who missed school that day.
“Troublemakers were gone,” Fuller wrote. “Fantastic day!”
Duchon said the district will continue to investigate the incident, though he believes the social media posts were a “totally isolated” event and do not reflect sentiments held by the large majority of staff members.
“Today, our goal is to provide comfort for the students ... and the staff and the parents of the community,” Duchon said.
Duchon said he visited classrooms Friday with Principal Jose Araux to talk with students about the incident. Many students are “disturbed” by the posts, he said, but are making him “very proud” with their behavior in light of the situation.
Greer eventually deleted the post and issued an apology in its place, reports local CW news affiliate KTLA:
“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.”
None of the six staff members named on the Facebook post immediately responded to The HuffPost’s requests for comment.
Some Rubidoux High School students planned to rally outside the high school Friday at 2:30 p.m. PT to protest the Facebook posts. Duchon said the high school plans to make its gymnasium available to its students.
“My heart is so broken,” former Rubidoux High School student Guadalupe Lopez wrote Thursday in a Facebook post containing screenshots of Greer’s posts and teacher comments. “I loved these teachers and this is how they feel about us and our people?”