School Again in News Over Anti-Vaccine Sentiment

Teacher told students not to embrace vaccinated parents for more than 5 seconds
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 29, 2021 12:35 PM CDT
Teacher to Students: Keep Hugs With Vaccinated Parents to 5 Seconds
David Centner, left, and wife Leila Centner, center, greet attendees at a preview of the Centner Academy on Aug. 21, 2019, in Miami.   (Carl Juste/Miami Herald via AP)

The Centner Academy was already in the news this week after reports that the Miami private school warned its teachers not to get the COVID vaccine, citing a debunked vaccination theory. Now, a new headline: A math and science teacher at the school told her fifth-grade students the vaccine is dangerous, and that if their parents had been vaccinated, the students shouldn't hug them for more than five seconds, reports CBS Miami. One of the students emailed her mom from class, and her parents came to school and took her out. In a letter sent to parents, co-founder Leila Centner, who's put up anti-vaccination posts of her own, said she was "appalled" that the teacher had violated school policy by offering her personal opinions and advice on the COVID vaccine, and that the teacher has since apologized to the class and the mother in question.

Centner also apologized for "this difficult situation," adding: "It was never my intention to make anyone uncomfortable or to hurt anyone's feelings." Centner tells CBS that no teacher was threatened to be fired if they got vaccinated. The Miami Herald, however, reports that just days before Monday's email warning staff about getting vaccinated, Centner conducted a Zoom call with faculty and staff in which she made multiple questionable or false claims about the vaccine and said she had to "draw the line in the sand." "If you want to get [the vaccine], this is not going to be the right school for you," she said. "I'm not OK with you being at this school. I'm not comfortable with you being around kids." Some parents, meanwhile, don't get where Centner is coming from. "It's baffling," one dad tells CBS. "Why would she not want her teachers to get vaccinated?" (More coronavirus vaccine stories.)

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