A teacher in Nebraska has been placed on administrative leave after she shared a social media post suggesting a link between anti-maskers and the Ku Klux Klan.
The Elkhorn Public Schools teacher, who has not been identified, is being investigated after she posted an image on Facebook with the caption “Isn’t it strange they can breathe in this” next to a klansman in a white hooded robe above a medical mask with the words “but not this.”
In a statement to the Omaha World-Herald, Elkhorn Public Schools spokeswoman Kara Perchal said the district was made aware of the post on Tuesday, August 24, and the teacher has been placed on leave pending the outcome of an investigation.
“Notably, the stated views were expressed on the individual’s personal social media account and do not represent those of the Elkhorn Public Schools,” Perchal said in the statement.
Speaking to news outlet WOWT, the teacher clarified the message they were trying to convey by posting the image.
“What I’m saying is that Ku Klux Klan members, if they’re anti-maskers, they’re hypocrites,” the teacher said.
“My personal views on politics, masking, those are outside of the classroom. I love my job. My opinions are not part of my job. I do my job, I teach math, I teach literature, I teach critical thinking skills. We don’t talk about politics.”
However, parents of the elementary school where the teacher works said they were offended by the image and accused the teacher of trying to impose her own views into the classroom.
“It’s very alarming to know that we have personal views leaking into the district,” parent Ann Mouw told WOWT.
“I believe in any teacher having their own personal beliefs, but when that belief is so strong, and comparing our constitutional rights to a hate group, that is not going to be tolerated, it should not be tolerated in any school.
“I’m literally sick to my stomach. I trusted her unbiased unpolitical opinion. And I loved her—nothing ever made me think that she would have that type of discriminatory behavior,” Mouw added.
Elkhorn Public Schools previously confirmed that while it would be “strongly recommended” that students and teachers cover their faces when the new school year starts, they will not be introducing a mask mandate.
The district said mask protocols may change if there are a surge of new COVID-19 cases within the school. Students and staff should be seated at least three feet apart where possible, and regular hand sanitizing will be required.
Elkhorn Public Schools has been contacted for comment.