KENT, Wash. — A teacher in the Kent School District was removed from Meridian Elementary School after being accused of posting a string of racist, Anti-Semitic and xenophobic tweets. Months later, parents in the district were outraged to learn she was teaching at a different school in the district.
The teacher, Rafaela Kayryakoff, was listed as a physical education teacher at Panther Lake Elementary.
"Why does she still have a job with this district?" asked Brandon Hurlock, whose daughter was in Kayryakoff's 1st grade class last year.
Hurlock said a few months into the school year, he got word that Kayryakoff was being verbally abusive toward students, as first reported by KUOW.
"She was belittling students, yelling at them, raising her voice at them," said Hurlock.
But nothing compared to what Hurlock said he would later see online: racist and xenophobic tweets attributed to Kayryakoff. He showed us what he said were copies of the tweets.
"The tweets called for genocide against Hispanics, asking that we go back to the old days of the Nazis, with the Jews and putting them in acid showers and all kinds of horrific things like that," said Hurlock.
One of the copies he showed KING 5 read: “Mexicans in Mexico are especially warlike and super stupid.” Another read, “There is nothing wrong or illegal about giving a Hitler salute in Germany.” The tweets also referred to Mormonism as a cult and called Jews “an inferior race.”
"It’s horrific to think that anyone could think like that, especially nowadays and potentially teach this to small kids," said Hurlock.
Hurlock says Kayryakoff was removed from Meridian Elementary toward the end of last school year. But she was listed as an instructor at Panther Lake Elementary for the current school year.
KING 5 confirmed through a background check that someone named Rafaela Karyryakoff was previously on probation in California after pleading no contest to two battery charges in 2003 and 2005.
"Why was this not brought to light?" asked Hurlock. "Did [the district] fail to do a background check?"
The Kent School District did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
But Superintendent Dr. Calvin J. Watts sent a letter to parents Friday afternoon announcing, "Rafaela Kayryakoff will be reassigned to a non-school based position beginning Monday, January 27, 2020."
The letter went on, "We are also committed to creating an environment where all students, families, staff, and community members know they are safe, respected and valued for their diverse life experiences, language, culture, values and beliefs."
Hurlock said the district is not doing enough.
"Why does she still have a job with this district?" he asked. "It feels like the district is trying to sweep this under the rug."