Amid coronavirus outbreak, Vietnamese American student alleges teacher singled him out for coughing in class

Walter Reed Middle School
(L.A. Times Graphics)

Amid worries about the global coronavirus outbreak, a 13-year-old Vietnamese American student at Walter Reed Middle School in North Hollywood is alleging that he was singled out by his teacher — and ultimately forced to transfer classes — after coughing in his honors science class.

The student, eighth-grader Dylan Muriano, said his teacher sent him to the nurse’s office in early February after he coughed as a result of swallowing water. Muriano said that the unnamed teacher refused to answer when he asked whether it was because he is Asian.

The teacher subsequently sent him to the dean’s or principal’s office multiple times, said attorney Gloria Allred, who is filing a complaint on Muriano’s behalf with the civil rights office of the U.S. Department of Education.

Allred said that as part of what she called the “ongoing retaliation” against Muriano, the teacher ignored his requests for classroom help and forced him to sit in a corner of the classroom. She said Muriano was forced to transfer to another science class but was made to give up the honors class.

“My teacher wouldn’t even give me an apology,” Muriano said at a press conference Friday at Allred’s office.

The Los Angeles Unified School District said it had no comment.