• Nicole Burnett made the derogatory gesture during a Zoom class
  • The school district spokesperson said an investigation into the incident has been launched
  • More than 6,000 people have signed an online petition demanding an apology from Burnett

A California teacher has sparked public outrage after making a slant-eyed gesture that mocked Asians during a Zoom class last week.

Nichole Burkett, a Sacramento school district employee, could be seen pulling the corners of her eyes to make them into different shapes in a video that has gone viral on social media, reported Los Angeles Times.

"If your eyes went up, they're Chinese. If they go down, they're Japanese. If they're just straight, you don't know," Burkett said in the video.

After Burkett made the gesture, someone could be heard in the video saying, "I should leave your class right now!"

Burkett is listed as a Spanish teacher at Grand Union High School. "I love teaching and supporting all students at Grant," her staff biography indicated.

Michelle Rivas, the school board president, said that the incident is taken seriously by the board and assured everyone that it would do "everything within its authority to address the situation."

Zenobia Gerald, Twin Rivers school district spokesperson said, also condemned Burkett's behavior. "An investigation was immediately launched when we were notified about the video. Please know that Twin Rivers is committed to providing all students with a safe and civil learning environment in which all members of the school community are treated with dignity and respect. We do not tolerate any form of racism from any member of our school community," Gerald said as per the New York Post.

After the video showing anti-Asian behavior gesture triggered public outrage, community members started an online petition demanding the district to denounce racism. The petition, which demands several actions including a public apology from Burkett, has so far been signed by more than 6,000 people

"Racist and hateful acts like these have been experienced by Asian American students many times in the past. Fortunately, now, our students are equipped with the tools such as camera phones to capture and the details and trauma they experience in these classrooms," the petition reads.

Stop AAPI Hate, a nonprofit that works against racial discrimination against Asian American Pacific Islander communities, said in a report that the organization received 2,583 reports of incidents involving anti-Asian behavior from March 19 to August 5, 2020 alone. The report also revealed that seven out of 10 incidents involved verbal harassment, which included racial slurs, name-calling and profanities.

Nichole Burkett, a Sacramento school district employee has sparked public outrage after she made gestures indicating racial stereotypes during an online class. pixabay