A teenager was discriminated against over fears of the coronavirus (2019-nCoV or COVID-19) when his teacher sent him to the nurse’s office for coughing after drinking water.
The issue was brought to the public’s attention after his mother, Leyna Nguyen, a former Los Angeles news anchor posted about the incident online, according to Fox 11.
“He’s a thick-skinned kid, not a snowflake,” Nguyen told the network. “This isn’t about an overly-sensitive child; this is about an insensitive teacher.”
According to Nguyen, her son, Dylan Muriano, was sent to the nurse’s office at Walter Reed Middle School on Wednesday when he coughed after drinking water.
“He actually said to me, ‘all the other students who are coughing, they don’t get sent out.’ But they’re not Asian,” Nguyen said.
After being cleared by the nurse, the eighth-grader returned to his classroom only to be teased by his classmates about having the virus. His teacher was also allegedly upset that Muriano returned to the class and continued to ignore him for the rest of the day.
“I asked him if he sent me out because I was Asian and he responded with nothing,” the teen said. “He looked me in the eye and didn’t say anything after that. Just left me alone and wouldn’t say anything.”
In her Facebook post, Nguyen said the nurse “rolled her eyes” and told the teen that “everyone was being hyper-sensitive.”
“We talked about it, I explained the sensitivity and ignorance and told him all through life he will work with and for people who won’t like him or judge him unfairly but he needs to keep his head down, do his work and finish strong,” she added via Newsweek.
The following day, the same teacher sent Muriano to the dean’s office and accused him of being disruptive.
After hearing what happened, Nguyen called the school and made the incident public on Facebook. She later learned that many people were also encountering discrimination around the world.
“All of a sudden, hundreds of comments about other people experiencing the same thing, at the grocery store, on a plane – a full plane – no one wants to sit by the one Asian guy,” she said.
The Los Angeles Unified School District said they are looking into the matter but cannot give any comment due to confidentiality. The school district also stated that it is committed to the safety and well-being of students and it does not condone intolerance of any kind.
“I know there are bigger problems in the world right now,” Nguyen said. “My son knows there are bigger problems in the world right now, but you can’t let this go. For him at that moment, it’s a pretty big deal and you can’t just let it slide.”
“People go through this a lot, every day and it’s not right,” Muriano said. “It shouldn’t be like that.”
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website advises people not to discriminate against people of Asian descent over fears of COVID-19 and not to assume that Asian people are more likely to have the virus.
Feature Image Screenshot via Fox 11