PICO RIVERA, Calif. – A teacher and in Pico Rivera, California has been fired after his disparaging comments towards military members drew widespread condemnation, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The El Rancho Unified School District voted unanimously on Tuesday to fire history teacher Gregory Salcido.
Board of Education President Aurora Villon said students should feel respected, and that was not the case in this situation. “The classroom should never be a place where students feel that they are picked at, bullied, intimidated,” Villon told the Los Angeles Times.
The firing happens nearly two months after Victor Quinonez, one of Salcido’s students, recorded video of him ranting about the military and insulting service members’ intelligence. The rant was apparently prompted by the student’s U.S. Marines sweatshirt.
In the video, which Quinonez surreptitiously recorded while the camera was mostly pointed at his shirt, Salcido repeatedly called U.S. service members “dumbsh–s.”
“Think about the people who you know who are over there – your freaking stupid Uncle Louie or whatever – they’re dumbsh–s. They’re not like high-level thinkers, they’re not academic people, they’re not intellectual people; they’re the freaking lowest of our low. … They’re not talented people.”
Salcido also could be heard telling Quinonez not to wear his U.S. Marines sweatshirt in his classroom.
A Connecticut woman who is a friend of Quinonez’ family posted the videos on Facebook on Jan. 26, and one of them has been viewed more than 6 million times as of Monday afternoon. The friend, Kimberlie Flauto, made the videos public and asked for help making them go “viral.”
Quinonez told KTLA he recorded the videos because he was tired of hearing disparaging remarks about the military from the teacher.
Quinonez’ father Vincent expressed ire about the classroom comments made by Salcido, who is also a Pico Rivera city councilman. “It’s not … about freedom of speech. That’s fine, he can say what he wants, but to say it to the youth is wrong. To bully my son is wrong, to discriminate against people who want to be in the military is wrong,” said Vincent Quinonez.
The city council previously issued a statement, signed by the mayor and three other council members, saying they disagreed with Salcido’s comments.
“The City Council and residents of Pico Rivera are steadfast in the recognition that the contributions by those who have served or are currently serving our country via military service are respected and we are grateful for their service,” the statement read. “The City of Pico Rivera was founded upon the principles, values and sacrifices of many of our veterans who when called upon by our nation served with great pride and honor. Those men and women who have proudly served in our nation’s armed forces have proven time and again that personal sacrifice in the face of injustice and tyranny can literally change the world for the better.”