Parent: Classmates torment daughter after teacher calls her ‘corona-kid’

Reporter: Gina Tomlinson
Published: Updated:
The student a teacher is accused of bullying. (Credit: WINK News)
The student a teacher is accused of bullying. (Credit: WINK News)

A Collier County elementary school student is being tormented by her classmates and her father is blaming the substitute teacher for calling her a derogatory word with a link to the coronavirus. Now, he is calling for a public apology.

It is a name Dr. Gary Lawson said classmates are calling his daughter, Risa, at her school.

”We have a very very cordial relationship,” Lawson said. “She feels she can tell daddy anything. She goes to school half the year in Japan, half the year in the U.S. But as of last year, we’ve had to keep her here just because of the poor health of her grandmother.”

Lawson’s family had a special service to cremate Risa’s grandmother in Japan early last month when she returned to her fourth-grade class at Vineyards Elementary School.

“She was given the new name, “corona,” as in coronavirus,” he said.

Lawson said hysteria over the outbreak made matters worse.

”She was sent to the nurse’s office because of the teacher,” Lawsons said. ”I explained to her this is normal. Risa has allergies she also sometimes has nosebleeds. This has nothing to do with coronavirus, seeing that we were back in the country for two weeks.”

The substitute teacher said she would have sent any student to the nurse. She admits to joking around with Risa about the coronavirus.

“She said, ‘don’t worry. I don’t have the coronavirus,” the substitute said. “And I laughed and said ‘I would hope not.'”

But, Lawson said the teasing has not stopped.

”This is an action not on the students themself,” Lawson said, “but because they thought leadership endorsed it.”

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