A middle school teacher was caught on video scolding one of his students last Friday for stating that President Trump is a person he admires.
Every day, teacher Brendan Stanton poses a question to his students at P.G. Keithley Middle School in Tacoma to kick off class. In the virtual learning environment, each student answers the question via chat for the whole class to see.
On Friday, sixth grade students opened up their classroom chat with Mr. Stanton and saw these instructions:
“Good morning 5th period!
In the chat: Who is one person you admire and why?
Think about: Your computer scientist research and who you wrote about.”
One 10-year-old student told the class that he admires President Trump. The teacher took issue with the student’s answer, and began to rant against the President, saying that “that individual” (he wouldn’t call Trump by name) “has spoken hate to many individuals.”
The student’s mother, Elsy Kusander, an immigrant from Honduras, entered the room and began to record her child’s computer as the teacher continued his rant.
“Who did you say?” she asked her son.
“Donald J. Trump,” the child responded.
“I admire Donald J. Trump,” the child had written, “because he is making America great again and because he is the best president the United States of America could ever, ever have. And he built a wall so terrorists couldn’t come in the U.S. Trump is the best person in the world and that is why I admire him.”
Stanton deleted the child’s answer, saying that that example “was not appropriate.”
“That individual,” said Stanton, “has created so much division and hatred between people…and I don’t think is an appropriate example for a role model.” Stanton then locked the chatroom for the rest of the day.
Kusander arranged a phone meeting with Stanton later that afternoon to discuss the incident, in which he described her child’s answer as being off-topic. He said the question was specifically about computer scientists, and more specifically, about family members and local community members that students might admire in the computer science field.
“My perspective has nothing to do with Donald Trump himself, right?” he told her. “I try to keep politics out of the classroom.”
When Kusander revealed that she had recorded a portion of the incident, Stanton’s tone changed:
“I do apologize if my words were not perfect at the time,” he said. “If I used…if I said that Trump was ‘hateful and divisive,’ that may have been what I used at the time, but my purpose was in bringing us back to the conversation of computer scientists and the positive role that they’ve played in our history.”
You can view the recorded classroom rant and listen to the entirety of Kusander’s conversation with Stanton on the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH here.
“Why he’s using the school platform to impose his views?” Kusander told Komo 4 News in a recent interview. “They go to school to get educated, but not to get brainwashed.”
Stanton has not returned to the classroom since Friday, but the school district has confirmed that he is not on leave:
“We have not placed the teacher on leave. We are in conversation with the family and involved staff members, and all parties are cooperating to reach a solution.”Statement from the Franklin Pierce School District to Komo 4 News
According to a school district spokesperson, Stanton has been receiving death threats since the incident was publicized.
Kusander does not want Stanton to be fired. “I don’t agree with cancel culture,” she told Komo. “He admitted his wrong and he’s going to be a better educator. I don’t want nobody to get fired.”