A teacher in Tacoma, Washington asked his online sixth grade class to name a person who they admire, and to explain why. When a student wrote ‘Donald J. Trump’ as their answer, the teacher deleted it, and went on a rant about the president that was devoid of facts.
Brendan Stanton, a middle school teacher at P.G. Keithley Middle School, explained that choosing President Trump as someone to admire was “inappropriate”, saying that the president has “spoken hatred to many individuals.”
The rant was caught on video by the student’s mom, Elsy Kusander, and was shared by radio host Jason Rantz and My Northwest.
Kusander took a screenshot of her son’s answer, which read: “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.”
According to reporting by My Northwest, Stanton almost immediately kicked Kusander’s son out of the chatroom and deleted his post, while calling out the student for mentioning the president.
Kusander noticed the incident when she came into the room and heard Stanton berating the president. She immediately began recording the incident.
“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, okay?” Stanton said.
“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 added.
Kusander was surprised by the comments made by Stanton, saying: “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. How can a teacher be teaching to his students horrible things about the president of the country without facts?”
Kusander requested a phone call with the teacher to discuss the incident. In the call, Stanton attempted to lie to her, not knowing that she actually witnessed the incident and recorded it. He claimed that the reason her son’s response was deleted was because it was not related to the question of the day.
Stanton then claimed that the question had been for students to pick a computer programmer that they really admired, not a person in general.
“Donald Trump would not fit that prompt… just because it was a little bit off topic,” Stanton told Kusander.
After this blatant lie, Kusander told Stanton that she had recorded the incident. He immediately attempted to backtrack and explain his actions.
“My perspective has nothing to do with Donald Trump himself, right? I try to keep politics out of the classroom,” he explained.
“I do try to keep politics out of the classroom … because students have different opinions, right? 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,’” he continued.
Stanton also said that he was offended by Kusander’s child saying “that the border wall keeps out terrorists,” according to My Northwest.
The recording of the incident, and of a later phone conversation between Kusander and her son’s teacher was shared on YouTube:
“But we know that our neighbors at the southern border are not all terrorists, right?” Stanton noted.
Kusander remarked that she had emigrated from Honduras, from which Stanton immediately assumed she would agree with him. “So you would understand,” he said. Kusander disagreed, saying she was against illegal immigration.
“I came into the room, and you were talking, I got my phone and I recorded part of your conversation,” Kusander said, adding that “I clearly saw and recorded what you were saying …”
Stanton continued trying to talk his way out of the hole he had dug for himself: “I do apologize if my words were not perfect at the time. 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.”
“I totally respect him [Kusander’s son] as an individual. 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,” Stanton said.