A Golden West College professor and counselor who was identified as the woman in a viral video telling a Long Beach family to "go back to your home country" has been placed on leave for two weeks as school district officials figure out how to proceed, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.
The community college in Huntington Beach called the woman's words "extremely disappointing," adding that they "do not reflect the values or mission" of the school.
In a statement posted to Facebook, the school said they were reviewing all internal policies and viable options for next steps. "We do not anticipate the faculty member in question to be on campus this week and because this is a personnel matter, additional details may be limited as further review continues," the post stated.
The video that led to the disciplinary action was posted to Facebook on Thursday by Tony Kao, who said the incident happened while he was taking a walk with his wife and young daughter in their Long Beach neighborhood.
The video, posted in two parts, shows Kao confronting a woman the Times identifies as Golden West College professor Tarin Olson. The woman's face can be seen briefly, but she turns away when she realizes she's being recorded.
"I want you to tell everybody why you told us to go back to our country," Kao says as she walks away.
"You need to go back to your home country," the woman can be heard saying.
"And what does that mean?" Kao asks.
"Have your wife turn your phone off," the woman replies.
"We're born and raised in the United States and you told me to go back to our country?" Kao says.
As of Tuesday, the video had been seen more than 500,000 times.
Olson responded Monday in an email to Times Community News, writing that she was "not in a good place emotionally after receiving so many disgusting emails …. for something that wasn't even racist and was then skewed by a guy named Tony who filmed me without my permission."
She added that the entire video wasn't posted online, and that viewers couldn't see Kao asking her why she "hated him so much." Olsen said she told him she didn't hate him.
Kao, meanwhile, took to Facebook to thank people who reached out to support his family, and to post this message of clarification:
First, I wanted to express our sadness of experiencing racism first-hand with our baby who was exposed to this at such a young age in public and broad daylight. Second, we wanted to express our surprise that this type of racism can exist in Long Beach of all places in this age and time and to bring awareness it can happen anywhere. And finally, to encourage those that also face similar experiences to speak up and speak out. We have NO intention of seeking out or besmirching the offender’s personal life or career. It is our hope the offender is aware and apologetic for what she has said to us, but all we can do is hope. Although my post was about something negative, the message we want to convey is POSITIVE and that is to be respectful to one another no matter of what race, creed, or color. Please do not use my post to foster more feeling of anger or hatred because frankly there’s already enough of those feelings in this world. Thank you all again for truly caring for our well-being! Please share this post, thank you!