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Georgia county school board member is slammed after sending out campaign newsletter calling COVID-19 'the China virus'

A Georgia school board member was slammed as racially insensitive for  calling coronavirus 'the China virus.'
In a newsletter sent August 18, Cobb County School Board Post 5 vice-chair David Banks, who represents parts of East Cobb, wrote that 'since the China virus is still of concern,' the school district would be canceling its 2020 retiree ceremony. 
Banks, a Republican, who previously sent emails blaming 'illegal aliens' for LA's high murder rate, has been on the school board since 2009. He is currently seeking a fourth term. 
Parents were furious about the use of the racially charged term and have demanded he apologize.
Shannon Deisen, who has an Asian-American daughter in a middle school in the school district, told WSBTV that 'it’s highly inappropriate for an elected official to make a choice to use language that incites bullying and hate.'

She added that Banks' 'words have an impact on how students treat each other' and noted that 'if we want to foster an environment of inclusion and respecting the dignity of all the students in Cobb County schools, there’s no place for that language.'  
Dr. Jonathan Chen, who also has children in district schools, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he wasn't surprised to see 'China virus' when he received Banks' newsletter.   
While using potentially racially insensitive words once could be deemed 'poor judgement,' Chen noted that 'if there’s a pattern, then that’s disturbing.' 
In November 2017, Banks used his personal email account to forward an immigration hoax email which cited fake statistics about 'illegal aliens' - that had been debunked 10 years ago, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. 
The email claimed that undocumented immigrants were responsible for the majority of murder warrants in Los Angeles and claimed taxpayers were responsible for funding births of babies 'to illegal alien Mexicans.' 
In 2015, Banks, a retired computer and technology consultant and business owner, was accused of sending another email aimed at reducing rights of Mexican immigrants in the US, including their right to free speech, protest and property ownership. 
Parents in the school district were upset after receiving the email (pictured) and asked that Banks, a Republican, apologize for using the racially-insensitive term
Parents in the school district were upset after receiving the email (pictured) and asked that Banks, a Republican, apologize for using the racially-insensitive term 
Of the 2017 incident, the Cobb County School Board Chairman said at that time that because Banks had used his personal email to forward the immigration hoax email to a personal distribution list, there was nothing the board could do. 
Following his receipt of Banks' August 18 campaign newsletter involving the 'China virus' mention, Chen has called for Banks to publicly apologize for using the divisive term and is asking for the school board to formally condemn Banks' language.   
Another Cobb County resident, John Martzall, told Fox 5 Atlanta that he sent the school board members a letter pointing out the racism behind using the 'China virus' term.    
He said that the letter included 'some trends from United States searches and it's not a commonly used phrase no matter who you are. It's been continually called out as a racist term.'
Martzall added that 'When something is called out as racist, we need to take a step back and consider it. And accept the fact that people are offended by it.'
On Thursday, board member Dr. Jaha Howard asked his colleagues to issue an official apology for anything that a current board member might have said or done - without naming Banks, apparently - 'that has been deemed “potentially racist.'
'We should acknowledge our own behaviors within our own leadership,' Howard said during a work session Thursday, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 
Howard later sent a statement to Fox 5 Atlanta which said, 'I am appalled, but not surprised by my colleague's harmful statement. I'm also disappointed that collectively we did not condemn his language. As leaders, we must do better in acknowledging our issues and commit to getting better for the sake of our children.' 
Fellow board member Charisse David told the news station that she wasn't surprised by Banks' language either and had asked the board issue a statement condemning his use of the term, but that did not happen Thursday.   
The Cobb County School District sent FOX 5 a statement noting that its attention is on the start of the new school year. 
'As a District, we are entirely focused on a successful start to a very complicated school year, on our students and on our staff,' the statement read. 
President Trump has previously been criticized for hsi use of the 'China virus' or even 'kung flu' on Twitter and during term speeches
President Trump has previously been criticized for hsi use of the 'China virus' or even 'kung flu' on Twitter and during term speeches 
'Mr. Banks is an elected official and communicates his own views and opinions. His newsletters are not District communications and any Board member questions should be directed to Board members.'  
School Board Chairman Brad Wheeler told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that while the board might not be able to do much about Banks' comments, he does tell the members 'to be cognizant of your comments because they reflect on yourself and the entire board.'
Wheeler added that 'It’s in the hands of the voters.'
After running unopposed four years ago, Banks now faces a challenger in Democrat Julia Hurtado in the general election on November 3. 
In June, Banks told East Cobb News that he is opposed to the idea of the school district hiring a chief equity officer to handle inequities including race and ethnicity and special needs, calling the idea of an equity officer 'a buzzword, something the Democrat party uses a lot. But it doesn’t work.' 
Cobb County Schools is the only major school system in metro Atlanta that has yet to formally addressed systemic racism following months of social justice and racial inequality protests. 
The school board has failed three times to pass a resolution denouncing racism. 
Davis told the Atlanta Constitution-Journal that it's hard to discuss passing a resolution condemning racism when 'we do have colleagues that are saying things that are considered slurs.'      
Banks has not yet addressed the use of the term publicly or issued an apology over it. 
President Trump has previously been criticized for hsi use of the 'China virus' or even 'kung flu' on Twitter and during term speeches. Both terms have been deemed racially insensitive for their role in promoting xenophobia and harassment of Asian-Americans in the US during the pandemic.  

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