School Investigating Counselor's Comments Caught on Video

Officials at Golden West College said they're looking into whether comments a school career counselor made on a video posted online, in which she appeared to tell a Long Beach couple to "go back to your home country," violated the school's policies.

If they do, the remarks could result in some type of punishment, Letitia Clark, a spokeswoman for the Coast Community College District, which operates Golden West. 

"We want to make our students and alumni feel proud, and this does not make them feel proud," she said.

Any decision must take into account the setting of the video, Clark added.

"It's so different than if something were to happen on campus or in the classroom," she said. "Because the comments were made in a private neighborhood, it's a different situation."

Clark said school administrators learned about the video on Saturday, about two days after a Long Beach man named Tony Kao posted it on Facebook. In his post, Kao said he recorded the video as he and his wife were out for a walk with their baby.

He wrote that the woman walked by them and casually told him and his wife to "go back to your country" before the couple started recording. After the camera is rolling, the woman objects to the filming and starts walking away.

"I want you to tell everybody why you told us to 'go back to our country,'" Kao said.

"You need to go back to your home country," she replied.

"And what's that mean?" Kao shot back.

Toward the end of the 29-second video, Kao calls the woman's comment unbelievable.

"We're born and raised in the United States, and you told me to go back to our country," he said.

Kao posted the video on Thursday.

Commenters on the video identified the woman as a professor and career counselor at the Huntington Beach college. It was unclear how that link was made, or if someone just recognized her.

After the woman was identified, angry students, alumni and others started contacting Golden West, according to Clark. She said the district had received several dozen calls by Monday. Many more people have contacted the school on social media, she said.

Clark said the professor in the video, Tarin Olson, has been in contact with her supervisor at Golden West. She doesn't dispute she's the one shown in the recording, according to Clark.

"Tarin's a great person," said friend Patrick Carranza. "She's not the kind of person to single somebody out, so something must have been said."

Olson has been a faculty member for 25 years. 

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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