Society

Florida Teacher Reassigned After Immigration Comments

| by Sarah Zimmerman

A Florida elementary school teacher was reassigned from teaching a computer lab to working the administrative desk after making comments supporting mass deportation over Facebook. 

Veronica Fleming is a teacher at Parkside Elementary School, which is composed of 96 percent minority students. She took to Facebook to praise Trump's deportation policy, saying she will be glad when there are "less mouths to feed."

"Have fun while you still can," she wrote, directing her comments at undocumented immigrants. "So glad to hear about massive deportation."

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Her comments are a direct response to a nationwide protest known as A Day Without Immigrants, in which many immigrants did not show up to work or school in order to show the world how life would change if all immigrants were deported.

The school is 70 percent Latino and 20 percent Haitian. Shortly after she published her status, the school's principal was flooded with calls from angry parents demanding Fleming's termination.

"I feel offended, I feel ... my feelings are hurt, for our kids," Juana Perez told NBC. Perez is an immigrant who says she came to the U.S. to give her children a better education. 

"I couldn't even believe it. How could a teacher speak like that?" she asked.

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A Change.org petition was made also asking the school district to fire Fleming.

"We understand that as a private citizen Mrs. Fleming should be allowed to express herself, however, as an educator at a school composed of predominantly Hispanic, Haitian, and students of other minorities, one should always be professional and behave as an impartial authority figure that is held to higher standards," the petition reads. As of Feb. 20, the petition has just over 3,000 signatures.

After an internal investigation, Fleming was reassigned to the school district administrative center. She will no longer have direct contact with children. 

Claudia Lopez, the creator of the Change.org petition, is not satisified with that response.

"So, Veronica Fleming has been reassigned to administrative duties?" she writes on her Change.org petition page. "THAT IS NOT ENOUGH!!! Dr. Kamela Patton, the department's Superintendent, needs to go further with her decision. This is merely a slap on the wrist for such hateful behavior."

Principal Tamie Stewart sent an official statement to families following the incident, according to NBC. "We greatly appreciate our parents who have communicated to the school to share concerns so that we can address this issue," she writes. "I want to ensure our families that this person’s individual post is not at all reflective of our school staff in any way."

Fleming has yet to respond to any requests for comment.

Sources: NBC News, Change.org / Photo Credit: Veronica Fleming/Facebook 

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