Bay Area school threatened after teacher clashes with neo-Nazis at state Capitol
By Veronica Rocha
Jun 29, 2016 | 1:52 PM
Police have increased security at a Bay Area school after an email threatened retaliation for a teacher’s participation in a violent clash involving neo-Nazis at the state Capitol this weekend.
The email was sent to Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, in Berkeley and threatened “that if certain actions were not taken against the teacher within the week, someone would come to King with the intent to harm students,” according to the Berkeley Unified School District.
The district also received emails and calls from parents and community members asking that the teacher be fired, the website Berkeleyside reported.
The FBI reviewed the email and determined it was a “low-level threat,” school officials said. But the Berkeley Police Department took the threat seriously and has deployed additional patrols to monitor the campus. The department also assigned an officer to the middle school.
School is out for the summer, but the campus was being used by outside groups renting space there. The groups were moved to other locations, officials said.
“The safety and well-being of our students and staff is our primary concern, and we will do whatever is necessary to protect them, and we will continue to work closely with law enforcement to monitor this situation,” district Supt. Donald Evans said.
Although the district did not describe the threats, Yvette Felarca, the teacher identified in the email, spoke out about the incident on Facebook. She said the email contained “racist and misogynistic threats coming from Nazi/KKK supporters.”
“Thank you to everyone for your proud support,” she wrote. “I am disgusted and condemn these attacks on myself and the children, the faculty and staff at my school. I hold Donald Trump responsible for this. His politics of racist demagoguery and hate is inciting these vile threats of violence, even against children.”
Felarca, who is the national organizer for the civil rights group By Any Means Necessary, or BAMN, was among a group of counter-protesters who clashed with neo-Nazis during a rally Sunday on the Capitol grounds. According to the California Highway Patrol, the Traditionalist Worker Party had a permit to hold the rally, but the counter-protesters were waiting for them.
The violence erupted when the two groups met around 11:45 a.m. Counter-protesters swarmed party members and a fight immediately broke out, said CHP Officer George Granada.
Seven people were stabbed and nine were hospitalized. All the injuries were sustained by white nationalists or counter-protesters, the CHP said.
At one point, Felarca, who appeared in news videos with blood and bandages on her head, was seen pushing and punching a neo-Nazi sympathizer in the stomach several times while screaming “Get the … off our street.”
Video shows law enforcement officers tackling Felarca after she confronted the man.
(Warning: The video below contains explicit language.)
District spokesman Mark Coplan said the district supports free speech and the right of peaceful protest, but does not condone the violence “like the world witnessed in Sacramento last weekend.”
“The anarchist group known as BAMN has a history of disruption and violence, usually to the detriment of the causes they claim to support,” he said.
Coplan said the district was confident that the threat would be resolved before school starts at the end of August.
As for Felarca, Coplan said her actions in Sacramento had no relation to her employment.