A high school assistant principal in Rhode Island asked teachers for donations to help an illegal immigrant student pay off a “coyote,” a term often referencing a drug cartel-affiliated human smuggler.
The unbelievable incident happened at Mount Pleasant High School in Providence, with the letter obtained by news outlets showing assistant principal Stefani Harvey asked faculty and staff to help come up with $2,000 to pay off a “coyote,” who she disingenuously defined as “a group that helps people.”
The letter from Assistant Principal Harvey, signed with pronouns “she/her/hers,” stated (emphasis hers):
Please see the message below regarding your consideration for an urgent matter to support one of our own students here at Mount.
We have a student who came to America with ‘coyote,’ which is a group that helps people. This group gives you a time frame to make a payment of $5,000 to those, who bring them into the states.
Our student needs our urgent support to raise another $2,000 to meet his goal of $5,000 by February 1st, 2023.
Please [consider] helping if you can by donating on Friday. Melanea will be around to collect money between 8:00-8:45am.
The letter, which sounds too incredible to believe, was investigated by the Providence Teachers Union, which came to the conclusion it was indeed real and had in fact been distributed to faculty.
From the National Review:
A representative of the Providence Teachers Union confirmed an interview with local radio host Matt Allen that the email was indeed sent on Thursday night.
Maribeth Calabro, the president of the union, confessed to Allen that she actually first heard of the email through his radio show. Calabro, a teacher herself, spoke to some Mount Pleasant teachers, who confirmed that Harvey had sent the email.
“I was a little taken aback by the contents and fully and completely understanding of your reaction,” Calabro told Allen. “I engaged the district. I called leadership in the district.”
Addressing rumors that the email may have been hacked or a farce, Calabro confirmed that teachers at the school “realized quite quickly that it was not a hack or a misrepresentation or a joke.”
The controversy forced a response from the school’s principal Tiffany Delaney, who condemned the request as inappropriate and said donations would be returned, however as pointed out by National Review, she didn’t note the gesture may have been altogether illegal.
Discussing Harvey’s gesture, Parents Defending Education investigative fellow Alex Nester chastised her attempt to pay possibly cartel-linked human smugglers as “ignorant and incredibly dangerous” in an interview with The National News Desk.
“They were raising money to send to ‘Coyotes,’ and in this email, they say that Coyotes are just a group of people that helps people and that couldn’t be further from the truth,” Nester said. “Anyone who has a TV and turns on the news would know that children have been sexually abused, neglected and have even died in the hands of these Coyotes.”
“These people who want to get across the border, they want a better life for themselves and their kids in the U.S… and Coyotes extort them for these massive payments, like this $2,000 payment that they wanted this school to raise for them,” Nester explained. “And again, that’s just absolutely dangerous.”
Harvey has been placed on paid administrative leave until the district figures out what it wants to do about the letter, reports local Providence media.