KEY POINTS

  • A teacher at Chicago's Nicholas Senn High School allegedly made the comments to a Hispanic student during a Hispanic heritage assembly
  • The student was one of several reportedly protesting the national anthem when the teacher confronted them
  • Several students held a sit-in to protest the teacher and demanding action be taken

A Chicago teacher faced a backlash Thursday for telling a Latina high school student who didn’t stand for the national anthem to "go back" to her country. The student was born in the United States.

Students at Nicholas Senn High School held a sit-in on Wednesday to protest the teacher, whose name hasn’t been released, demanding the school take action. Principal Mary Beck told the students district officials had been notified.

A video of Beck addressing the students was posted on Twitter.

“I notified everybody within three hours of receiving the report. It is all in writing,” Beck told the students. “It is all time-stamped. I did my job. I continue to follow through based on the guidelines and policies that we have in place. Every time.”

The students responded, saying “So why is he still here?”

Chicago police said a 15-year-old student protester was arrested and charged with battery for allegedly pushing over a 55-year-old man. Officers also broke up several fights between students as well.

The alleged incident occurred during a Hispanic heritage assembly at the school on Jan. 30. Senior Yésica Salazar, 17, told reporters she chose to remain seated with several other students to protest U.S. immigration policies and police brutality toward minorities. Two teachers reportedly told the students they would have to leave the assembly if they did not stand.

One of the students left while Salazar said one of the teachers asked why she was sitting and not leaving.

“Before I could finish my sentence, he responds back with the famous line: ‘Go back to your country,’” Salazar said. She said she told the teacher she was a U.S. citizen, reportedly leading to an argument between the two before she was again told to leave the assembly.

Chicago Public Schools reportedly opened an investigation into the alleged comments and issued a statement, saying it was “committed to fostering learning environments that embrace and support all students, and the alleged actions of the teacher in question run counter to our beliefs and priorities as a school district.”

Students sit in class at Sidney High School Students sit in class at Sidney High School Photo: AFP / Megan JELINGER