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A Seattle-area teacher was seen on video appearing to chastise a student who supports President Donald Trump, the student’s mother alleged in a complaint filed with the school district.
According to talk radio host Jason Rantz, the teacher, Connor Seaman, assigned his Language Arts class at Kopachuck Middle School in Gig Harbor to choose someone they considered a hero and to explain why.
The student chose the president, in part because of his immigration policies and commitment to building a border wall.
Seamen then spent the next several minutes attempting to convince his student that President Trump’s immigration policies have failed and that he’s a racist to boot.
“It’s the latest in a long string of incidents where teachers bring their political bias into the remote learning environment. Had it not been for the precocious 8th grader, this would not have come to light. But the district claims the teacher didn’t do much wrong,” Rantz wrote at KTTH.
After class was over, Seaman asked the student to remain online for a discussion. And what began as a reasonable talk about proper sourcing, the conversation then turned to criticism of the president.
“Like, we kinda talked about the wall thing, so, like, I mostly know about this because of my own research,” Seaman tells the student, who then goes on to question the student’s use of the White House website as a source for his claims.
“There’s only, like, along the wall that’s been built, has mostly just been replacing old wall that was already there. I mean, it wasn’t really a wall. It was kind of like a fence, you know?” Seaman continues.
“But it’s still a barrier. The promise was to make a wall along the border, and only like, 100 miles, I think, is the number out of the 3,000 total miles has actual structures.”
In fact, according to Customs and Border Protection, more than 370 miles of new wall has been erected. Also, in regions where some form of often flimsy barrier existed, a substantially better wall has been built in its place, as a surprised MSNBC news team reported in recent weeks.
At that point, Seaman asked, “Why is it heroic to make a wall to keep out immigrants?”
The student tries to explain that Trump is “trying to make the law better” — a reference to U.S. statutes making it a crime to illegally enter the United States.
Seaman then compared illegal immigration to jaywalking, but the student responded by suggesting illegal immigration is a more serious offense.
“Right. But why is that important though?” the teacher asked.
“So, like, for example, like, let’s say, because jaywalking is illegal, let’s say I were to do a task force that cost billions of dollars to stop jaywalking once and for all type thing. Is that, like, you see the kind of point I’m trying to get right here?” Seamon continued.
The student responded that he did not.
“Um, what would be a bigger accomplishment: lowering murder rates or lowering illegal border crossing?” Seaman asked. “Because, like, that is a more adverse effect on people like, how does it affect you that someone is crossing the border illegally?”
The student responded by suggesting that illegal aliens could also be terrorists, but Seaman was undaunted.
“I don’t know if you know this, but actually immigrants who cross illegally, they perform crimes at a lower rate than US citizens do,” he said.
Rantz then noted that the student turned the phone’s camera towards him and mouthed the words, “Not true.”
The talk host then explains:
The student is actually more correct than the teacher. While Seaman is generally citing various research, what’s unsaid is that police generally do not ask or record citizenship of suspects. Using Seaman’s comparison, if an illegal immigrant is a serial jaywalker, it’s not reported as an illegal immigrant jaywalking, but just a person jaywalking.
About eight minutes into the after-class conference, Seaman refers to the president as a “racist.”
“So if you’re gonna introduce bullet points, you kind of have to back up with why that’s heroic because there’s a lot of people who would argue that it’s not heroic and it’s actually… a lot of the rhetoric that has been said has been very racist,” says the teacher.
The student pushed back, asking what Trump has said that he considers racist.
Seaman referenced the president’s June 2015 speech announcing his candidacy for the GOP nomination, when he said a lot of “rapists and murderers” cross illegally into the U.S. from Mexico, which is factual.
“It’s pretty racial language, so a lot of people would argue that it’s actually creating a lot of racist tensions by saying that,” Seaman argued.
Seaman went on to discuss illegal immigrants being held in “camps” and that families were separated at the border, which also happened during the Obama administration.
The student then excused himself, and for his part, Seaman told him he could continue with his report nevertheless.
The school district came out in support of its teacher when the student’s mother contacted officials after getting upset watching her son’s video.
“The comment that the teacher tried to convince the student he was wrong for supporting President Trump’s immigration policy is not accurate,” spokesperson Aimee Gordon told the Jason Rantz Show.
“The student and teacher spoke about immigration policy in the context of providing evidence for why President Trump is a hero. The teacher’s intent was to encourage the student to use more than one source for his assignment.”
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