A middle school teacher in Washington is being criticized after becoming angry with a student who listed President Trump as a person he admires.
During a virtual class session, sixth-grade teacher Brendan Stanton asked his students from Perry G. Keithley Middle School in Tacoma to name a person they admired. One student, a 10-year-old boy, answered by naming Trump in the classroom chat.
"I admire Donald J. Trump because he is making America great again," wrote the student. "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."
Stanton reportedly kicked the student out of the chat and then deleted the student's response.
The boy immediately got his mother, who began to record Stanton as he explained to the class why the student's answer was not "appropriate."
"The example that was shared in the chat, which I went ahead and erased for us, was not appropriate right?" said Stanton to the class. "Especially as that individual has created so much division and hatred between people and specifically spoken hatred to many different individuals, ok? 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 boy's mother, Elsy Kusander, was concerned about the encounter.
"How can a teacher be teaching to his students horrible things about the president of the country without facts?" she said in an interview with local radio station KTTH.
Kusander went on to record a phone call with Stanton, where he listed differing reasons for why her son had been kicked from the chat.
Stanton told Kusander that he only deleted her son's comment because it was not related to the question he has posed. He argued that he had told students to choose a local computer programmer they admired. Stanton then claimed that another student had been offended by the answer and said he tried to keep politics out of the classroom. He also claimed he had not recorded the session, despite it being policy to record all virtual class meetings.
The teacher went on to deride the president's platform on immigration, however, telling Kusander, "We know that our neighbors at the southern border are not all terrorists, right?"
When Kusander pointed out that she had immigrated to the United States from Honduras, Stanton told her, "So you would understand." Kusander, however, said that she is against illegal immigration.
The mother then told Stanton that she had recorded his words earlier in the day, at which point he changed his story again.
"I do apologize if my words were not perfect at the time," said Stanton. "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."