School officials on Thursday began interviewing an Orange County grade school teacher to determine if she wrote a letter that disparaged Hispanics and other minorities.
Jan Hall, 59, was suspended without pay Wednesday after the letter was printed in the Spanish-language daily newspaper, El Nuevo Dia, spurring protests at Sadler Elementary School.
“She admitted that she had written a letter,” said Dylan Thomas, a school district spokesman. “Because we don’t have a copy of the letter, we have not been able to present it to her to confirm if it’s her letter.”
Hall couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday. Her principal, Anne Lybaugh, said that while it hadn’t been proven yet that Hall wrote the letter, there was no room for racism or discrimination at her school.
“There is no room for not being sensitive to the needs of all children,” Lynaugh said at a news conference outside the school Thursday.
A spokeswoman for El Nuevo Dia refused to say how the newspaper obtained the letter.
Addressed “Dear Honorable Congressman,” the letter said Hispanics and other Caribbean natives were taking all the jobs and charged that Hispanics and immigrants were hurting the quality of schools.
The letter also charged that Puerto Ricans were destroying Orlando, and that laws should be changed so Puerto Ricans, who are U.S. citizens by birth, would stop moving to Central Florida. The letter also complained about Mexicans, Middle Easterners and Haitians.
David DeMond, who leads the Classroom Teachers Association, said his organization would provide legal advice for Hall if she is a member.
“Teachers have the right to express an opinion,” DeMond said. “But they are aware of the code of ethics and should be able to read and understand what it means.”