Asian Pupil Sent to School Nurse's Office for Coughing Amid Coronavirus Fears, California Mother Says

A student of Asian descent in California claims he was sent to his school nurse's office just for coughing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Dylan Muriano, an 8th grader at Walter Reed Middle School, said he was sent out of class by one of his teachers after coughing while swallowing water, reported Fox LA.

When he was given the all-clear by the nurse, he returned to class and asked the teacher why he was not sending other students out every time they coughed.

"I asked him if he sent me out because I was Asian and he responded with nothing," Muriano said. "He looked me in the eye and didn't say anything after that. Just left me alone and wouldn't say anything."

The boy was also allegedly teased about having the coronavirus by fellow pupils after returning to the classroom.

According to the boy's mother, Leyna Nguyen, the school's nurse "rolled her eyes" and told her son that "everyone was being hyper-sensitive" about the threat of the virus that has killed more than 1,000 people since the outbreak was first detected in Wuhan, China, in December.

"We talked about it, I explained the sensitivity and ignorance and told him all through life he will work with and for people who won't like him or judge him unfairly but he needs to keep his head down, do his work and finish strong," Nguyen, a former Los Angeles news anchor, added in a Facebook post.

Speaking to Fox 11, she added: "He's a thick-skinned kid, not a snowflake. This isn't about an overly-sensitive child; this is about an insensitive teacher."

Nguyen said that she has heard examples of others discriminating against Asian people over fears about the coronavirus in the wake of her Facebook post.

"All of a sudden, hundreds of comments about other people experiencing the same thing, at the grocery store, on a plane—a full plane—no one wants to sit by the one Asian guy," she said.

"I know there are bigger problems in the world right now. My son knows there are bigger problems in the world right now, but you can't let this go. For him at that moment, it's a pretty big deal and you can't just let it slide."

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) said it is looking into the incident but cannot comment on student or personnel matters.

"LAUSD remains committed to the safety and well-being of all students and does not condone violence or intolerance of any kind," the district added in a statement.

Freddy Ortiz, principal of Walter Reed Middle School, has been contacted for comment.

According to the latest figures, there have been 1,018 deaths linked to the coronavirus worldwide, with an additional 43,138 confirmed cases.

This graph, provided by Statista, shows where the confirmed cases worldwide are.

Coronavirus Countries 11 February Statista
Countries where coronavirus has been confirmed. Statista