Tacoma, WA – The mother of a 6th Grade student at P.G. Keithley Middle School caught her son’s teacher on video after the instructor kicked her son out of class for saying he admired President Donald Trump (video below).
The incident occurred in a virtual classroom in the Franklin Pierce School District on Friday, the morning after President Trump announced that he and First Lady Melania Trump had both tested positive for the coronavirus, according to Jason Rantz at KTTH.
Elsy Kusander said her 10-year-old son logged into class on Oct. 2 and answered the question of the day that had been posted by teacher Brendan Stanton.
“Who is the one person you admire and why?” Stanton had written, according to a video filmed by Kusander.
“I admire Donald J. Trump 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 the wall so terrorists couldn’t come into in the U.S. Trump is the best person in the world. And that’s why I had admire him,” the 10 year old posted his answer in the chatroom as instructed.
Kusander said her son’s teacher exploded almost immediately, KTTH reported.
She said he kicked her son out of the online classroom, deleted the chat, and went on a rant about President Trump, calling out her son for choosing him as a person to admire.
Kusander told KTTH that she walked into the room and heard what Stanton was telling the students, so she started filming.
“The example that was shared in the chat, which I went ahead and erased for us, was not appropriate right? Especially as that individual has created so much division and hatred between people and specifically spoken hatred to many different individuals, OK?” Stanton said to his class in the video.
He never referred to President Trump as the “President” in his rant but instead repeatedly referred to him as an “individual,” KTTH reported.
“Again, that individual has spoken hate to many individuals and I don’t think is an appropriate example for a role model that we should be admiring,” Stanton expounded to his virtual audience of 10 year olds.
Kusander told KTTH she was shocked by what she heard.
“I went into my son’s room and I heard the teacher saying that this individual is hateful and divisive, etc. I started to record,” she explained. “How can a teacher be teaching to his students horrible things about the President of the country without facts?”
The confused mother reached out to Stanton and asked to speak with him about her son being kicked out of class.
But when he spoke with her via video chat later that afternoon, he lied about what had transpired, and Kusander filmed that too.
First, Stanton claimed that it had been an accident when her son was dropped from the chat, KTTH reported.
Then he told her the question had been about the computer scientist students most admired.
“Donald Trump would not fit that prompt… just because it was a little bit off topic,” Stanton claimed in the video.
Kusander had notified Stanton she was recording their conversation at the start of the call, KTTH reported.
Stanton claimed in the video that another student had been the one who was offended by Kusander’s son’s choice of President Trump to admire and told her that was why he had deleted it.
“My perspective has nothing to do with Donald Trump himself, right? I try to keep politics out of the classroom,” the teacher.
When Kusander expressed doubt about Stanton’s story, he swore that what she’d heard wasn’t political.
“I do try to keep politics out of the classroom… because students have different opinions, right?” Stanton told the student’s mother. “And so if the way that I said it was not perfect, I do apologize. What I was trying to say is just, ‘Hey, hey, guys, let’s get it back to our topic of the day because we really need to get moving into our content, which was on our computer scientists.’”
But then he got political with Kusander, the video showed.
“But we know that our neighbors at the southern border are not all terrorists, right?” Stanton asked her, referring to her son’s reference to a border wall in his answer.
Kusander told Stanton that she had emigrated from Honduras to the United States, the video showed.
“So you would understand,” the teacher replied.
Kusander took that opportunity to explain to Stanton why she opposed illegal immigration, the video showed.
Eventually, the mother told her son’s teacher that she had recorded what he had said and done that morning in class, KTTH reported.
“I came into the room, and you were talking, I got my phone and I recorded part of your conversation,” Kusander told Stanton. “I clearly saw and recorded what you were saying…”
Stanton immediately tried to change his story, the video showed.
“I do apologize if my words were not perfect at the time,” the teacher 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.”
He offered to apologize to the student he had kicked out of class.
“I totally respect him as an individual,” Stanton said. “And his opinion. I am always interested in student feedback and also parent feedback as well. So I appreciate you having this conversation with me.”
The Police Tribune reached out to the Franklin Pierce School District to find out if any investigation was underway into the incident but had not received a response at publication time.
Update: The school district later responded to the inquiry with a statement by Franklin Pierce School District Public Information Officer Joel Zylstra.
“We are aware of the story that is circulating regarding a situation that occurred during an online middle school class last week,” Zylstra wrote in his email to The Police Tribune. “We are not able to speak about specific information related to student or personnel matters but we are currently gathering additional information that was not captured in the audio and video footage.”
“We have reached out the student’s mother on multiple occasions and advised her to follow our procedures to contact the principal and district office if she is not satisfied with the outcome of her conversation with her child’s teacher. Through this situation and others, we will strive to create a safe, equitable and engaging learning environment for all students,” the statement read.
Watch the video recorded by the mother here below: