Teacher at private Miami school tells students not to hug vaccinated parents for more than 5 seconds

Teacher at private Miami school tells students not to hug vaccinated parents for more than 5 seconds

A Florida school that recently found itself in hot water after it told vaccinated employees they could not be around students, citing false COVID-19 claims, is facing scrutiny again after a student said a teacher warned them about hugging their vaccinated parents for longer than 5 seconds.

A 10-year-old student at Centner Academy, a private school in Miami, said a fifth-grade math and science teacher at the school during a class Wednesday warned the students about hugging their parents, CBS Miami reports

Shortly after, the student wrote an email to her mother about the incident on her laptop. In the message, which was obtained by the news station, the girl wrote: “Hola Mami. [The teacher] is telling us to stay away from you guys and not hug you for more than 5 seconds. She is also saying we should not get the covid vaccine.”


The child’s mother told the station she didn’t “have words to describe how my stomach dropped when I saw her email.”

The report comes after the school drew criticism earlier this week over reports that Leila Centner, a co-founder of academy, recently sent out a letter to employees telling them they would not be allowed to be around students if they received the coronavirus vaccine.

In the letter, she pointed to reports she claimed “surfaced recently of non-vaccinated people being negatively impacted by interacting with people who have been vaccinated.”

“Even among our own population, we have at least three women with menstrual cycles impacted after having spent time with a vaccinated person,” she stated. 

Medical experts have continued to debunk false claims alleging that coronavirus vaccines could be transferred from those who have received the shot to others who have not. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also told people that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and encouraged Americans receive the vaccine as soon as they are eligible. So far, according to the agency, millions have received the vaccines under what the CDC has called “the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history.”


CBS Miami reported that Centner confirmed the teacher did caution the students about hugging their vaccinated parents. However, she added in a statement to the station that the teacher went against school policy by doing so. 

“Today, one teacher offered specific advice to students regarding the COVID-19 injection. We are appalled at this. It was against our policy and the teacher has recognized and acknowledged her mistake,” she told the station. 

“The teacher has retracted her comments and apologized to the class and the parent involved,” she added. 

The child’s mother said the teacher has also since called her family to apologize for the incident. 

Her father told the station the incident was one “that probably doesn’t occur if this was a school that wasn’t pushing a particular viewpoint.”

“This was not the school we signed up for,” he said, while taking aim at Centner for taking what he described as an increasingly hard-line stance against vaccines in recent weeks.

“She never thought about the impact this was having on the families. She just kept telling the teachers and the staff who had been there for years, 'Well, if you don’t like my position, this isn’t the place for you.' Well, where does that leave the parents?” he said.

Last month, the school published a bulletin on its website titled "Medical Freedom From Mandated Vaccines," which told parents, "Your son or daughter may not be able to attend their first day of school until they are fully vaccinated. While these regulations were established to help protect all children, the amount of unknown risks associated with vaccinations will have you seriously second-guessing whether this policy should be upheld." 

The month before that bulletin, the school’s founders also had anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. come to speak to students, according to The New York Times. The visit came the same month Kennedy saw his Instagram account taken down over his anti-vaccine advocacy and coronavirus claims.