A school counselor at Campbell High School in Ewa Beach, Oahu sent an e-mail to faculty to alert teachers that some students were being kept at home by parents over fears of deportation. Col. John Joseph Sullivan, a social studies teacher responded in an email to co-workers stating that if students are in the country illegally, he “would not teach them.” Sullivan also perceived the e-mail to be a direct attack on President Trump’s immigration policies.
Via DailyMail: Col. John Joseph Sullivan replied to the email, saying: ‘This is another attack on the President over deportation. Their parents need to apply for immigration like everyone else. If they are here in the U.S. illegally, I won’t teach them.’
Both school administrators and the Department of Education have condemned Sullivan’s comments. The school principal Jon Lee’s response: ‘I just reminded him again that we don’t discriminate against any individuals […] We’re going to service all students that are registered in our school.’
Speaking to Hawaii News Now, Sullivan tried to explain what he meant: ‘My comment in the email refers to (the email’s title) if students is (sic) kept home, teachers cannot teach them,’ he said.
A Department of Education spokesperson commented on the likelihood of Sullivan facing a reprimand for his comment: “I can’t speak on what appropriate action will be taken against this teacher, but rest assured appropriate action will be taken. […] It’s very clear in our code of conduct that we do not discriminate on national origin as well as all the other aspects of where you’re from. Who you are. Sexual orientation, religion and the list goes on and on. “
It is worth noting that the email which has caused the controversy for Sullivan was a private communication to two recipients, additionally his e-mail was specifically marked for confidentiality in his e-mail signature. Based off the story, Sullivan is facing a backlash over this specific comment being made public, and not any actual public comment he has made.
The State of Hawaii is currently facing off with the Trump administration in court to resolve their disagreements over immigrant status. Though Sullivan’s views may be at odds with the general public, or his fellow faculty, is it fair that he has faced such severe scrutiny for a single comment in a private communication? Comment below and let us know.