Cobb County

Cobb County school board member under fire for using “China virus” reference

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — A school board member’s description of the coronavirus has some parents in Cobb County fuming. In a newsletter sent out, school board member David Banks said in part “China virus is still of concern.”

Parents told Channel 2 Cobb County Bureau Chief Chris Jose that the board member’s choice of words are ignorant.

“I believe it’s highly inappropriate for an elected official to make a choice to use language that incites bullying and hate,” Shannon Deisen said.

Deisen has an Asian-American daughter at a Cobb County middle school. She is furious about the language used by Banks in the newsletter.

“His words have an impact on how students treat each other. And 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.”


To give some context, Jose reached out to the Atlanta Chapter of Asian-Americans Advancing Justice.

“Statements like this around calling it the Wuhan flu, china virus, the Chinese virus, are really harmful and damaging to the Asian American community,” Stephanie Cho said. “It really puts in a place of always being the perpetual foreigner.”

Cho said Banks’ choice of words is a domino effect of discrimination and hate toward Asian Americans in Georgia and across the country.

Banks has been a school board member since 2009. Jose reached out to Banks but he did not respond to requests for an interview.

“There’s no reason for a school board official to choose to create a hostile learning environment for Asian-American students in Cobb County Schools,” Deisen said.

A Cobb County School Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday.