According to a report by KTTH afternoon host Jason Rantz at mynorthwest.com, Brendan Stanton, a teacher at P.G. Keithley Middle school, poses a “question of the day” each day to his sixth grade students. On Friday, he asked them, “Who is the one person you admire and why?”
Students could write their responses in the online chatroom. A screenshot in Rantz’s story shows Elsy Kusander’s son wrote:
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 admire him.
The report notes Stanton “almost immediately kicked the student out of the chatroom, deleted the chat, and proceeded to attack the president, while calling out the student for mentioning him.”
When the student called for his mother, Kusander heard Stanton berating the president and began filming the comments on her cell phone.
“The example that was shared in the chat, which I went ahead and erased for us, was not appropriate right?” Stanton said to his students. “Especially as that individual has created so much division and hatred between people and specifically spoken hatred to many different individuals, OK?”
The report notes Stanton would not even use the president’s name during his rant, referring to him as “that individual.”
“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,” the teacher continued.
According to Rantz’s report of the incident, Stanton usually records and posts digital classes to an online portal for students and parents. He did not, however, record this particular one, citing student privacy, and was not aware Kusander had recorded some of it.
Kusander demanded Stanton speak with her about the incident. The recording indicates he told her he deleted the Trump comment because it was not related to the question of the day he posed to the students. He also claimed his question to the students was to choose a computer programmer they admired or, alternately, someone from their family or the community, “such as a pastor or a coach.”
“Donald Trump would not fit that prompt … just because it was a little bit off topic,” Stanton is heard saying to Kusander on the audio recording of the conversation, and then claimed he deleted her son’s comment about Trump because another student made a comment about it.
“My perspective has nothing to do with Donald Trump himself, right?” Stanton said. “I try to keep politics out of the classroom.”
Rantz’s report continued:
When Kusander questions his recap, Stanton again assured her it wasn’t political at all.
“I do try to keep politics out of the classroom … because students have different opinions, right?,” he said. “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.'”
Despite this comment to Kusander, Stanton returned to his own political position, admitting he was offended by her son’s statement that Trump’s border wall keeps the country safe from terrorists.
“But we know that our neighbors at the southern border are not all terrorists, right?,” he noted.
When Kusander informed Stanton she came to the United States from Honduras, the teacher said to her, “So you would understand,” assuming she was not opposed to illegal immigration.
After Kusander revealed she recorded the incident, Stanton said:
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.
The teacher said he would apologize to Kusander’s son.
“I totally respect him as an individual. And his opinion,” Stanton said. “I am always interested in student feedback and also parent feedback as well. So, I appreciate you having this conversation with me.”
After hearing her son’s teacher’s comments, Kusander reported the incident to Rantz at KTTH.
“How can a teacher be teaching to his students horrible things about the president of the country without facts?” she asked.
Rantz said he sent “multiple emails” to Stanton, the school principal, and the district communications manager, but received no response. He commended Kusander for being a vigilant parent.
“Let this be another reminder to pay close attention to what teachers are telling your kids,” he wrote. “Some of their political bias is pretty clear.”
“Remember to talk to your children and ask them about what they’re learning,” he advised as well. “And don’t be too shy to record what you witness teachers saying to your kids if it’s inappropriate. If you don’t, the video from the classroom may not be uploaded as you expect.”