PROSSER, Wash. – A Prosser elementary schoolteacher was placed on leave Friday after the school district said she posted a Facebook message that could be considered hostile or offensive on the basis of national origin.
The post generated a number of emails, phone calls and visits from “concerned citizens and parents” that the school district described as “angry and concerning.”
“Due to possible safety and security concerns, as well as concern for disruption of the school environment, this teacher has been placed on administrative leave pending investigation of this incident by the district,” the Prosser School District said in a news release issued late Friday afternoon.
The release did not identify the teacher, but said she taught at Keene-Riverview Elementary School.
A Facebook post attributed to a Prosser teacher voiced support for boycotting Thursday’s A Day Without Immigrants protests and provided information on how to contact the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency to “report illegal aliens.”
“They will need to know names, locations (either work place or residence) and any other specific information you can provide,” the post said.
“If this offended you in anyway do me a favor and unfriend my American ass!!!” the post said.
Reached by phone Friday evening, Prosser Superintendent Ray Tolcacher did not identify the teacher, but confirmed the wording of that post was the same that led to the teacher being placed on administrative leave.
The Facebook message was posted Wednesday evening, the day before protests were held in many cities and towns across the nation in support of immigrants. Hundreds of students and an unknown number of workers in the Yakima Valley stayed home and a number of businesses closed Thursday in support of the protests.
The news release issued by the school district took pains to distance school officials from the message posted by the teacher.
“Please be assured that the views expressed by this teacher on her personal Facebook page do not in any way reflect the views, beliefs or values of the Prosser School District or its administration or Board of Directors,” the news release said.
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