Woodland Hills teacher receives threats after wearing ‘I CAN’T BREATHE’ shirt during virtual class

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A wall in Mar Vista, Los Angeles, is spray painted with the words “I can’t breathe,” May 30, 2020. Recently, an English teacher at El Camino Real Charter High School in Woodland Hills wore a t-shirt that said “I can’t breathe,” then got complaints about it from a father of one of her students. Threats on social media followed. Photo by Amy Ta/KCRW

The politics of protest have entered the virtual classroom of a local high school. An English teacher at El Camino Real Charter High School in Woodland Hills had to flee her house after receiving death threats. 

It started after the father of one of her students complained online about her wearing a t-shirt that said “I CAN’T BREATHE.” That slogan has become a rallying cry for Black Lives Matter.

The dad said that the t-shirt went too far, and told CBS LA he wants his daughter to “go to English class and learn about English.” His screenshot of the teacher wearing the shirt spread across social media.

Now the teacher, whose name KCRW will keep private for her safety, says she’s receiving threats on social media. 

She sought a restraining order against the parent and others, and left her home out of fear.

“Here you have an educator who is doing righteous work and is subjected to this kind of violence,” says Cecily Myart-Cruz, president of United Teacher Los Angeles, the union that represents this teacher.