BERKELEY (KPIX 5) — Two weeks after violent protests rocked the University of California at Berkeley campus, a Berkeley public school teacher is front and center in the debate over free speech.
Yvette Felarca is a well-known activist in Berkeley and a teacher at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School.
After her appearance on Fox News Monday night, her school is being flooded with calls for her resignation.
The interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson immediately sparked backlash. Felarca, a teacher and the coordinator of the activist group By Any Means Necessary talked about the violent protests on campus at UC Berkeley on the day that ultra-conservative Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak.
Felarca seemed to condone the violence.
“I’m really, really glad to say that thousands of us were out there last week…and made sure we defended our campus, this community and especially the immigrant and Muslim community that is under attack,” Felarca said.
Felarca is the same teacher who was briefly suspended by the Berkeley Unified School District after cellphone video captured her throwing punches at a man holding a neo-Nazi flag at a protest last summer.
On Fox News, she took aim at Yiannopoulos.
“He should not be allowed to speak in public, to spread his racist, misogynistic and homophobic lies. He does not have the right to do that,” she said.
Berkeley Unified School District officials confirmed that both their office and the middle school have been flooded with phone calls, emails and social media messages calling for Felarca’s firing.
Berkeley parent Emma Pearson said, “I think that to condone violence and say that that’s ok, it’s not ok. And especially a teacher saying that, it’s setting a precedent for the students.”
But parent Eliza Hoover said, “I believe it’s important for teachers to be activists in the community and it’s part of our national heritage. We might not all agree with the same methods that they had, but that’s just the way it was handled at that time.”
The school district would not comment, saying it’s a personnel issue.