Seattle 8th-Grader Picks Trump as ‘Hero,’ Teacher Holds Him After Class for Lecture on ‘Racist’ Policy

Oct 30, 2020 by

In a Washington school district, teacher Connor Seaman is being criticized for his treatment of a 13-year-old who said Trump was his hero.

Here’s a personal development goal if you’re a teacher in 2020: Endeavor to make it so that your name doesn’t end up in the newspaper.

I may not be that old (or at least I tell myself that) but I’m old enough to remember when the only reason a teacher made it into our local rag was if they’d won some sort of service award or were being quoted in some piece about the school board meeting.

Maybe they were one of those hip teachers who’d managed to work technology into their curriculum, hooking up an Apple II in their classroom for programming lessons. (OK — I really am that old.)

Then came Mary Kay Letourneau and things took a turn. Local journalism has since been decimated and no one is going to be covering a service award anymore.

Sometimes a media outlet picks up a story about some teacher doing something interesting in the classroom or launching some kind of anti-bullying campaign, but these days, what usually gets teachers into the media these days is one of three things: 1) When a teacher has had an untoward relationship with a student. 2) When a teacher has been intoxicated in the classroom. 3) When there’s a story about technology in the classroom. Not necessarily being used by the teachers, but being used to record them and their rants.

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At least in the case of Connor Seaman, it was the last of those things that got his name in the media. Thank goodness, because the first two things end in charges.

At least for a while, however, Seaman had better hope he keeps his job at Kopachuck Middle School in Gig Harbor, Washington, because the first thing that’s going to come up on any Google search for Seaman is going to be a video of him lecturing a middle school student about why he couldn’t pick Donald Trump as a hero and explaining that Trump supports “racist” policies.

The video was first reported by Jason Rantz, one of the hosts at KTTH-AM in Seattle. Seaman, a language arts teacher at the school, assigned the hero project to his eighth-grade class, asking them to cite sources.

After the unnamed 13-year-old picked Trump as his hero, in part because of his policies on immigration and on building a border wall, Seaman kept him after their socially distanced video class for a chat. This went as expected.

“Like we kind of talked about the wall thing. So, like, I mostly know about this because of my own research,” Seaman said. “There’s only, like, along of 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?” the student said.

“But it’s still a barrier. The promise was to make a wall all along the border, and only like, 100 miles, I think, is the number out of the 3,000 total miles has actual structures,” Seaman replied.

So about that citing sources bit, Customs and Border Protection says 371 miles of fencing has been built — and while fact-checkers have pointed out much of this is replacing old barriers, what’s there has been effective.

The student cited the White House’s numbers on the matter. As for the sources for Seaman’s claims, they remain very much [citation needed].

That said, citing the White House as your only proper source is problematic, which would be a good reason to maybe talk to a student about what the aims of the assignment were — which is a decent point. I didn’t see the original presentation in its entirety, but what I saw — relatively quickly, in fact — is that this wasn’t why Seaman kept him after class for a talk.

“Why is it heroic to make a wall to keep out immigrants?” he asked.

Seaman compared it to jaywalking. The student pushed back, arguing it was a serious issue.

“Right. But why is that important though?” Seaman responded. “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 at right here?”

When he said no, Seaman asked “what would be a bigger accomplishment: lowering murder rates or lowering illegal border crossing?”

“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 mentioned that an individual trying to get into the country illegally could be a terrorist. (Or, you know, just a criminal.)

“I don’t know if you know this, but actually immigrants who cross illegally, they perform crimes at a lower rate than U.S. citizens do,” Seaman said.

The student was seen on video mouthing that the teacher is wrong — and, actually, the student is probably more right 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,” Rantz noted.

“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.”

Eventually, Seaman implied the student was being a racist: “So if you’re going to 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,” he said.

When pushed on what he said, Seaman referred to Trump’s first speech as a Republican presidential candidate, in which he implied many border-crossers are “rapists” and “murderers.”

“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 said.

The school returned a mixed verdict, which would ordinarily be OK: The student should have worked harder on his project, and Seaman shouldn’t have lectured him on his political beliefs.

“The comment that the teacher tried to convince the student he was wrong for supporting President Trump’s immigration policy is not accurate,” Peninsula School District spokeswoman Aimee Gordon told Rantz. “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.”

However, Gordon conceded that the “part of their conversation became more political in nature.”

“When speaking with the parents, the principal shared that the teacher should have stuck more closely to the assignment objectives for using multiple sources and not as much on using immigration policy as an example.”

Should we forget about this? Should we thank the fact that Zoom classes made it possible to record this encounter easily? Move on and assume everyone’s learned their lesson?

There are reasons to suggest otherwise.

First, it’s worth noting that the student’s mother said the school warned her that recording the student’s interaction with the teacher was illegal and that they shouldn’t go public with what had happened. Gordon only disputed this somewhat.

“If the party being taped has an expectation of privacy, which in this case the teacher would have had that expectation, it is illegal,” she said.

“The principal mentioned to the parents that recording a person without their knowledge is illegal, but did not say anything about not sharing the recording. The principal described the situation as a teachable moment and encouraged the family to speak with their child, as students are taught digital citizenship and that you must ask someone’s permission before recording someone.”

Except first, the teacher had no expectation of privacy here. He may have been in a private conversation with a student, but one which a parent could have been observing. Even then, it’s curious how the student is the one being taught “digital citizenship” when the school could be seen as threatening a whistleblower.

Second, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened. In Gloucester, Massachusetts, 12-year-old Jackson Cody talked about how how his teacher ridiculed him in front of his class for raising his hand to say he supported Trump.

“I raised my hand fully and a few kids were going to raise their hands but then they heard the teacher say to me, ‘Oh Mr. Jackson I thought I liked you.’ She proceeded to ask why I support a racist and a pedophile,” Jackson told WBZ-TV earlier this month.

According to WHDH-TV, the class then allegedly proceeded to verbally bully him, with the teacher doing nothing to stop it.

In that case, at least, the teacher and school fully apologized and the staff underwent training to deal with sensitive situations like politics. And no one, last I heard, was lectured about their digital citizenship and told they might be breaking the law by coming forward.

No, Connor Seaman is no Mary Kay Letourneau by any stretch of the imagination and were there a less lukewarm apology, I’d feel bad about putting this higher up in his Google search results than it already is.

On the other hand, neither he nor the school wants to talk about this — and in the latter case, the district was willing to insinuate a crime might be involved in order to stop dissemination of a video in which one of their teachers essentially called a student “racist” for picking Donald Trump as his hero.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Source: Seattle 8th-Grader Picks Trump as ‘Hero,’ Teacher Holds Him After Class for Lecture on ‘Racist’ Policy

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1 Comment

  1. Sue Carol Durham

    This is truly an example of liberal biases in the academic world. It is difficult enough to be 13 and learning virtually with COVID-19 unleased into the world by China…the whole world. This teacher obviously was trying to guide this young man to believe what his teacher thinks and feels about President Trump. That is called manipulation and programming a child to believe one way. Of course he said he could write it but could not cite The White sight for VALIDITY of choosing President Trump as a HERO. How dare this teacher think it is appropriate to bring in his own political views which are very apparent he dislikes our President. The schools allow this to happen because they have condoned teachers to do this to our children and grandchildren in school from early ages and through College. After all few conservatives are teachers…why is that…probably because they hate the hatred and liberal biases of those teaching their students as well. When a teacher becomes a pawn in academia for any party it shows poor judgment first but actually shows this teacher among many are programming our children every day to dislike America and to dislike President Trump but to like all things Democrat and liberal. The losers are our children. It is my hope these teachers if allowed to keep teaching have to sign a contract with our government to no longer spew their personal opinions or political views at all during the school year and allow their students to choose whoever they wish to be a HERO and to find their own way to their political views without manipulation and it is obvious this teacher is no HERO but actually a bully justifying how own opinions on the subject he gave them to do for classwork. If the work suits the teacher fine, but if the work goes against political views of that teacher than the child is made to feel he is wrong in his own opinions and judgment as to who he or she consider a HERO in his or her life. With COVID it is becoming apparent to many parents just what their teachers are actually saying to their children about many things especially when they ask the parents to not be there for his time with a teacher. Who is kidding who here…the Educational Dept of the USA needs to clean up this one sided liberal attitude displayed to our children each day obviously. They need to make teaching be diverse and add conservatives to the list but what is interesting most conservative teachers probably do not tell their children what to think and allow them to be free thinkers. That is the difference between a liberal and conservative in America today. Liberals always say what they think as true and accurate while conservatives have been shut down for four years under President Trump and have no voice whatsoever. Since there are no conservative teachers and since teachers are allowed to freely express themselves while their students cannot on political views especially, then it shows the educational system is at fault and the leaders in the schools are culpable for allowing teachers to even think they have the right to do this to a student learning to spread his wings and to eventually work in the work force and find his own way in the political world. Maybe they will be liberal but it is not the job of teachers to make their students walk in lockstep with them and their views. That is programming and that is what Communists do in Communist countries.