Teacher rant wouldn’t be tolerated in WUHSD, according to policy

Lily Amador

I’m sure most of you have recently heard of the video gone viral of  teacher Gregory Salcido from El Rancho High School in a neighboring school district.  For those who haven’t, an El Rancho Unified School District teacher (and a member of the Pico Rivera City Council)  was captured on video by a student of the teacher ranting against the United States military and using some racial slurs. The video was later posted on Facebook.

Salcido is an insensitive guy and this is not his first time being reprimanded and placed on leave. There have been other incidents in which he was disrespectful towards students,  and until now the public did not know about it. Now after the recording of Salcido spewing out derogatory messages about the United States military and  Asians, it’s a bit hard to feel sorry for this guy. But the problem isn’t only what he said, it’s about the class time he wasted by ranting. School is meant for one purpose: education. Sure, what he was saying was pretty controversial, but it was also a distraction from learning.

Let’s look at Whittier Union High School District’s policy on controversial issues to help understand that what Salcido did was wrong.  In summary, the policy in our district states that it is important for schools to discuss controversial topics but in an unbiased and objective way. Leighton Anderson, a member of the Board of Trustees for Whittier Union High School District said,  “ Our controversial issues policy has served us well.  It is true that controversial issues change over time.  But the policy does not identify what the issues are, but only says how they (whatever they might be) should be handled in the classroom. We want to equip you and all other students with the ability to understand and evaluate issues for yourselves.”

That’s where Salcido went wrong. He spoke about a controversial issue in a biased and hostile way. If he were a teacher in the WUHSD, he would have violated our policy.

So what kind of punishment ensues for teachers who violate policy? Anderson said, “ [Punishments]…include reprimand, suspension or termination of employment.  [A] school district does not have the authority to take away pension benefits or a teaching credential, as some members of the public have requested.”

While we were all entertained by the show that went down with Gregory Salcido, it makes you wonder. Why are people who act like this members of a city council? And why are teachers like this in a classroom?

UPDATE: The El Rancho Unified  School District on March 20, 2018, announced that Gregory Salas was fired from his position as a teacher.