Teachers Union: Reopening Schools Efforts Fueled by 'White Supremacy'
Increase in lockdown suicides is 'white privilege'
The teachers union leader in Washington state is facing a backlash after claiming the school reopening efforts are fueled by "white supremacy."
President of the Pasco Association of Educators, Scott Wilson, even said that the apparent increase in lockdown suicides was "white privilege."
Wilson made the comments during a school board meeting earlier this month, according to the Tri-City Herald.
"We must not ignore the culture of white supremacy and white privilege. We have seen it in the 'free to breathe,' reopen everything, rodeos, and rallies that received county commissioner support. The same county commissioner directs our health," Wilson said.
"No one wants remote learning, but it is the right thing to do.
"We know the equity concerns, virus transmission is high, heading higher, with so many ignoring and avoiding measures to stop the spread, remote learning is the right decision," he added.
Wilson likened the recent attack on the U.S. Capitol to the reopening of school efforts.
He later addressed letters from angry parents calling teachers lazy and demanding the reopening of schools.
"They complain their students are suicidal without school or sports," said Wilson.
"As a father daily surviving the suicide of my son, I find these statements ignorant and another expression of white privilege."
"Huge daily death tolls from this pandemic, seditious attacks on our Capitol, plus a new, more transmittable strain of the virus while our case numbers are rising again."
A backlash against Wilson from teachers ensued in a letter circulated on Facebook demanding he resigns over his comments.
"After the alarming comments made by our (PAE) President Scott Wilson last week, we can no longer stay silent," the letter said.
"This is not a true representation of what we as teachers feel we sacrifice and strive to teach students of all colors, cultures, and backgrounds."
Wilson said in a statement that coronavirus infections are felt more deeply among Latino families due to the greater preponderance of multi-generational households.
"We need to ensure that the educational experience is equitable between remote and in-person because if we're focusing on face-to-face without making our remote system robust, we're perpetuating inequities in educational opportunities that already exist," he added.
Wilson's comments come after Clark County School District in Nevada said it wished to reopen as "quickly as possible" following a recent spate of suicides.
In the nine months that the schools were closed due to COVID-19, there were 18 suicides, double the number of suicides of the previous year, the New York Times reported.
"By July, after the sixth suicide since March, the district invested in a program, the GoGuardian Beacon alert system, to send reports of mild to severe suicide risk," the report said.