Hawaii teacher: ‘If they are here illegally, I won’t teach them’
By Lynn Kawano
EWA BEACH, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) –
A Campbell High School teacher is facing heat after saying in an email to faculty members that he would refuse to teach the children of those in the United States illegally.
Get the latest on public and private education in the islands here.
He was scheduled to meet with the school’s principal Wednesday.
Hawaii News Now obtained a copy of the email, which was sent Wednesday morning. The full text of the email reads:
This is another attack on the President over deportation. Their parents need to apply for immigration like everyone else. If they are here in the US illegally, I won’t teach them.”
The email was sent by social studies teacher John Sullivan in response to another email sent by a school counselor about nationwide statistics on students who are being kept home from school due to deportation fears.
In an email to Hawaii News Now on Wednesday afternoon, Sullivan called the situation a “misunderstanding.”
“My comment in the email refers to (the email’s title) if students is (sic) kept home, teachers cannot teach them,” he wrote.
Jon Henry Lee, Campbell High School’s principal, spoke with Hawaii News Now prior to meeting with Sullivan this afternoon.
“I just reminded him again that we don’t discriminate against any individuals,” said Lee, who referenced the Department of Education’s Code of Conduct. “We’re going to service all students that are registered in our school.”
Lee also said that Sullivan violated school rules concerning the use of the department’s email system by sharing a political opinion.
A Department of Education spokeswoman said the school’s principal has discretion on any disciplinary action that Sullivan may face.
Corey Rosenlee, president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, said he could not comment on details in the case.
But, he added, “At the same time, HSTA strongly believes that every child has the right to an education, regardless of their immigration status.”
This story will be updated.
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