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Red Bluff Teacher Who Compared Covid Vaccine, Test Requirements, to Jewish Holocaust, Placed on Leave; Superintendent Receives Death Threats

Stacy Pearce, the Berrendos Middle School teacher whose post went viral on the social media for wearing a yellow Star of David while comparing Covid-19 vaccine and testing requirements to the Jewish Holocaust, has been placed on administrative leave while the district investigates the matter.

Pearce, who teaches reading intervention, and has taught for 26 years, was protesting the requirements for teachers to either receive the vaccine or get tested weekly as of October 15.

Viewed by more than 30,000 users, Pearce’s TikTok video was removed by the social media platform after it was mass-reported by users as in violation of TikTok’s terms of service and community guidelines. However, prior to the removal of Pearce’s video post, a TikTok user who goes by the name smugnurse captured Pearce’s original video, and reposted a version of it while criticizing Pearce. After the Pearce posts went viral, she hid all her previously public Facebook content.

Here’s what Pearce said in her initial TikTok video:

“So why am I wearing this yellow star on my chest? In Nazi Germany, the Jews were required to wear this yellow Star of David on their clothing to identify them, to humiliate them, and to isolate them. What’s happening today is not much different in our school system. So, in California, the mandatory testing starts today. Only the unvaccinated people have to do testing every week. But we know that vaccinated people are contracting Covid and spreading Covid. This testing isn’t about safety, it’s about power and control, and dividing us, otherwise everyone would have to undergo the test. So vaccinated or not, wear this yellow star to stand up for our freedom

Antelope Elementary School District Superintendent Jim Weber led a special school board meeting Thursday evening to discuss the matter, which led to Pearce being placed on administrative leave as the matter is under further investigation.

On Friday, Weber released a letter to the public which cited that the investigation was being conducted. Webber claimed that, while he could not go into detail, he wanted to make it clear that, “We seek to educate children in an environment of respect for each other, for our community, and for humankind.”

Letter released by Antelope Elementary School District Superintendent Jim Weber regarding Stacy Pearce actions of.

Clearly, Pearce — who also spoke at the school walkout rally held last Monday at the Tehama County Clerk of the Board building with the yellow on star pinned to her jacket — is not representative of Weber’s comments regarding respect. Even though Pearce was required to fulfill other immunization requirements to teach, she stated at the rally, “My medical history is no one’s business.”

Stacy Pearce at the School Walkout rally in Red Bluff.

Stacy Pearce at the School Walkout rally in Red Bluff.

Weber also claimed in the letter he made public, “It is unthinkable to trivialize the systemic persecution, torture, and murder of 6 million people by comparing it to a vaccination requirement in a time of pandemic.” He further stated that the district is dedicated to providing its students with a safe learning environment that promotes “academic excellence, responsible citizenship, and a lifelong desire for learning.”

Pearce’s supporters have rallied around her, along with a far-right social media group in the Red Bluff area known as Tehama Citizens for Freedom. The social media group, which has a Facebook and Telegram page, as well as a website, started a petition to support Pearce that has been signed by dozens of people.

Discussion on Tehama Citizens for Freedom Telegram page on Pearce.

Local residents have also published letters in the the Red Bluff Daily News in support of Pearce. One writer referred to Pearce as “a highly valued member of this community” and said that the “message she is delivering to the students, school system, and public at large is nothing less than commendable and heroic.”

“You should be honored to know that you have a teacher which such conviction and integrity” continued the author.

The fact is that there is nothing honorable or commendable about the appropriation of the Jewish Holocaust in the name of far-right xenophobic passions. As explained by Samuel Edelman, a Chico State professor who specializes in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Pearce’s actions are a slap in the face to survivors of the Jewish Holocaust “and to the memory of six million Jews and others who were murdered by the Nazis during World War II.”

Edelman also said that Pearce’s actions are “slap in the face against all other teachers” and that “the Holocaust was a horrific event and not comparable to a vaccine that will save your life.”

Pearce’s actions are also part of a broader thread of anti-Semitism in the extremist far-right community.

As of noon today, Weber has reportedly received at least three death threats – some of which have come via social media – for placing Pearce on administrative leave. The Red Bluff Police Department is taking the death threats seriously, and the threats are under investigation. 

Pearce’s appropriation of the Jewish Holocaust and the comparison she made between Nazi Germany and Covid-19 safety mandates and the vaccine are just the latest examples of the sorts of posts that are going viral.

If there is anything that folks could unite against, one would think it would be Stacy Pearce’s actions, but alas, and yet again, the far-right North State community has dug in and doubled down on hate, that even a nice fall rainstorm cannot wash away.

Stacy Pearce claims she was not comparing the vaccine to “mass murder.”

 

Statement shared on social media by Stacy Pearce.

Shawn Schwaller

Shawn Schwaller grew up in Red Bluff, California. He teaches for the Departments of History and Multicultural and Gender Studies at California State University, Chico, and has a Ph.D. in history. His research interests include the study of race and ethnic relations and identity politics in the contemporary history of California. Shawn can be reached at sschwaller@csuchico.edu

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