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A school employee has been removed from her post at a Los Angeles middle school after she was caught on video yelling at striking teachers, “Build the wall! All you guys wouldn’t be here!”
Teachers in the Los Angeles school district, the second largest in the country, began their strike on Jan. 14, with more than 30,000 teachers participating. Their strike has shut down 900 schools servicing serving more than 480,000 students. According to BuzzFeed News, 98 percent of members of United Teachers Los Angeles—the union for the teachers, school nurses, librarians and counselors for the district—voted for the strike, meaning it has overwhelming support with most of the people who work directly with the students in the district.
As teachers picket outside the schools, joined by parents who also want better resources for their children, school officials are still trying to hold some classes with a meager staff of 2,000 administrators and 400 substitute teachers. One of those staffers was Annette Arvizu, a senior technician for the district who has been employed there for nearly two decades. On Wednesday, she was recorded yelling from her car, “I’m so glad you guys aren’t getting paid, I’m getting paid.” She also accused the teachers of not caring about the children saying, “You care about your money, not the kids’ education.”
Breaking news from South Gate Middle School? Anyone know this lady?“Build the Wall, none of you will be here”#utla #lausdPosted by Benny Champagne on Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Her final comment before rolling up the window a last time in the video was, “Build the wall! All you guys wouldn’t be here!” As the picketing teachers and parents realize what she said, one shouts from off camera, “Racist much?” Arvizu responds by putting up her middle finger at the protesting teachers. According to district data, nearly half of the teachers in the district are Latinx.
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles school district said Arvizu has been removed from the “assigned campus” and that they were investigating the incident. The spokesperson called the behavior “inexcusable” but would not say if she had been fired. Arvizu says she was asked to resign and is refusing.
“I will not. I don’t feel I did anything wrong,” Arvizu said in an interview with Fox 11. She also claimed that her remark wasn’t racist and that she was just making a joke about closing the school gate.
H/T BuzzFeed News
Alex Dalbey is a writer and zinester currently living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. They have written for The Daily Dot, Kill Screen, The Lingerie Addict, and Bullet Points.