The Colusa Unified School District has responded to an incident in which a Colusa High School student was allegedly kicked out of a virtual classroom for displaying political memorabilia during a distance learning session.
According to a community information release issued by the district, the student in question logged on to their classroom session on Sept. 8 at the appropriate time but refused to position himself in front of the screen – a requirement for all distance learning sessions. Instead, the camera was allegedly focused on a campaign poster of President Donald Trump.
“After reasonable notice/reminder of the requirement, the teacher told the student she would count to 15 and if the student has not complied within that time, he would be removed/disconnected from the class session,” it was stated in the release. “After the teacher began counting, the student removed/disconnected himself from the class before the teacher completed her countdown or took any action to remove or disconnect the student.”
Later that day, the parents of the student called the school to complain about their child “getting kicked out of class over a Trump sign.”
Upon further review, the CHS assistance principal received a video recording of the class session in question from a student and determined that there was no mention of the campaign poster during the incident.
Several interviews with witnesses were also conducted, according to the release, and there was a “complete consensus among all that the incident did not involve the student’s political views or the President Trump poster.”
“The student was not removed/disconnected from his online class because of the poster, his political views or for any reason at all,” it was stated in the release. “In fact, the student removed himself from the class when the teacher attempted to enforce the requirement applicable to all students in online classes requiring them to present themselves in a manner that allows the teacher to personally observe the student.”
CUSD reported that the CHS assistant principal met with the student, his parent and the teacher involved in the incident on Sept. 9 and all agreed that the student’s behavior was a distraction to the class and the distraction did not involve the campaign poster.
According to the release, the CUSD Board of Trustees and superintendent remain engaged in the ongoing review of the incident as the facts continue to be developed.
“The Board of Trustees and the Superintendent do not, and will not, condone adverse action against students because of their political views,” it was stated in the release. “As the facts conclusively demonstrate here, it was the student’s own misconduct in refusing to comply with the requirement … and not his political beliefs or poster, that resulted in the student removing himself from the class.”
According to the release, the student was never disciplined for the incident and was not marked absent on the day of the incident.