NICKERSON, Kan. (KSNT) – A central Kansas school board president sparked outcry online after making remarks about Chinese people at a Monday board meeting.
Nickerson USD 309 Board President Dan Schweizer made the comment about Chinese hackers during a livestreamed discussion on the rising price of antivirus software for the school district.
“It’s going up, because it’s got to keep them Chinese out of our backdoor,” Schweizer said. “I said that, I said it on Youtube. Yes, you can come get me.”
Viewers of the livestreamed meeting accused the board president of racism on Twitter.
Schweizer said he made the comment after recent reports of Chinese hackers trying to steal American coronavirus and military research in the news.
“The FBI was accusing Chinese hackers of targeting U.S. COVID-19 research, so when I referred to Chinese, I was referring to Chinese hackers,” Schweizer said. “The antivirus software that we’ve just purchased was three times higher than what we had previously, trying to get a better product to keep our system a lot safer.”
USD 309 Superintendent Dr. Dawn M. Johnson told KSNT News that Schweizer’s meeting comment was not representative of the school district.
The comments made by the board president are not aligned with or endorsed by the district staff and other board members. Our district has and will continue to stand by our philosophy that respects and includes all persons.”Dr. Dawn M. Johnson – Superintendent, USD 309
The board president said he is not racist, and that he feels some people chose to take the comment out of context to attack his reputation.
“I was not referring to actual Chinese or actual doors to our school,” Schweizer said. “Had I said ‘Chinese hackers,’ it would have slowed them down but it wouldn’t have stopped. I feel terrible that I wasn’t more clear so they couldn’t take my words out of context.”
On calls for resignation, Schweizer said he has no plans to do so.