SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — Teaching in the age of Trump is proving to be a tough lesson for some Bay Area educators on the expectations from school leaders.
It was a calm Monday at Mountain View High School and history teacher Frank Navarro was back in class.
The social studies teacher was placed on paid administrative leave Thursday for about the last 90 minutes of the school day for allegedly inappropriate behavior reported by students and a parent, Mountain View Los Altos High School District Superintendent Jeff Harding said.
The superintendent told KPIX 5 by phone that Navarro was not disciplined because of his remarks to a class that compared Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler, and that such remarks in the context of a history lesson would be appropriate.
High school senior Pranish Giri agrees.
Giri said, “I don’t think it should be a big issue. He was just stating his opinion and this just got out of control.”
District staff who investigated the alleged inappropriate behavior didn’t find enough evidence against the teacher and determined his classroom was a “logically safe environment,” Harding said.
The district informed the teacher on Saturday that he was allowed to return on Monday, according to Harding.
Teachers have been encouraged to have classroom discussions about the presidential election results that have led to mixed reactions from students, Harding said.
“Emotions are running high as a result of the election and teachers are doing their best to help students process the results,” Harding said.
Navarro was questioned by administrators over another undisclosed issue, but that has since been cleared up according to the district.
Navarro told KPIX 5 he would do it again and that the comparison is factually accurate.
Navarro said, “Hitler focused on Jews and the Pols as foreigners and that they should be driven from the country and Trump has focused on Muslims.”
Meanwhile, Milpitas High School Principal Phil Morales is still on leave for saying, “F*** Trump” during a rally on campus last week.
The district said it was uncertain if Morales would be back in school Tuesday.
San Jose Unified was back on track Monday after a series of student walkouts and on campus protests at five high schools last week.
But now, questions remain about the faculty’s role in walkouts after some were reported to be escorting students or even facilitating off-campus protests.
San Jose Unified School District public information officer Peter Allen said, “If there are faculty that have been out on these demonstrations with students, we have reiterated to them they are not supposed to be doing that. We understand their desire to make sure their kids are safe. So they are doing it from a good place, we just need to make it clear that these are not school sanctioned events.”
San Jose Unified said none of its teachers have been disciplined.
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