A Missouri middle school teacher is no longer employed by Springfield Public Schools after a video surfaced showing her berating a male student as a "straight jerk," "butthead," and "weasel," apparently over his LBGTQ objection, the Springfield News-Leader reported.
What are the details?
Cellphone video of the May 27 incident begins with the unnamed teacher angrily addressing the student, apparently after he interpreted the unicorn cupcakes she brought to the Pershing Middle School classroom for the last day of class as pro-LBGTQ, the paper said.
Indeed, the LGBTQ community has adopted the mythical animal as a symbol of sorts in recent years.
The clip begins with the teacher saying, "Just 'cause I support another thing doesn't mean I don't support straight people, too. Just 'cause I'm Mexican doesn't mean I don't also support black people or Irish people or ignorant people."
As the teacher utters "ignorant people," she gestures toward the male student in question, who responds that he believed he was being "ignored" by the teacher.
"Would you like a special unicorn cupcake for being straight, jerk?" the teacher yells at the student, who yells back, "Yes!"
Have a 'straight jerk cupcake'!
With that, the teacher walks toward the back of the class and presents the student with what she called a "straight jerk cupcake" and called him a "pill."
"I'm just trying to be annoying," the student tells the teacher, who yells back, "You are annoying! You are very successful, congratulations!"
On her walk back to the front of the classroom, the teacher exclaims, "What a dip!"
The student is heard asking the teacher what she said, and she replies, "A dip! Like a dipstick, a butthead, a weasel, a pain in my butt!"
By the end of the clip, the teacher says she wanted to give students something before they leave for the summer and says, "Everybody is welcome to a unicorn cupcake."
“Straight Jerk!" – Teacher Berates Straight Kids for demanding Unicorn Cupcakes. youtu.be
The paper said the video apparently was recorded by a student sitting in the middle of the classroom, and the teacher did not appear to know she was being recorded.
What did the school district have to say?
Stephen Hall, the district's chief communications officer, told the News-Leader a Pershing parent informed the district about the incident and provided the video within 24 hours of the incident taking place — and that an investigation began "immediately."
"The video includes comments that do not meet the professional standards for educators," Hall told the paper. "They are inappropriate and inexcusable. As a result of the district's internal investigation, SPS has taken appropriate disciplinary actions. While details of personnel matters must remain confidential, our response has followed the guidelines outlined by our board policy and reflects the district's zero-tolerance for this type of conduct."
Hall added to the News-Leader after gaining permission from the teacher that "the employee will not be returning to SPS."
He also told the paper that the issue was dealt with prior to the video being shared on social media in recent days.
State senator speaks out
Republican state Sen. Eric Burlison told the News-Leader Friday that the teacher on the video "quit being the teacher she was hired to be and became an advocate for her own personal views. As she promoted her personal beliefs in the classroom, she lost her objectivity in a conversation with one of her students, who pushed back on these ideas. Crossing the line even further, she is said to have then called the young man many demeaning and derogatory names."
The paper added that Springfield residents and those outside the area who have accused the school district of training employees on critical race theory as part of equity and diversity efforts have shared the video.
Burlison also told the News-Leader that the incident along with "reports of critical race theory being taught and other extreme views that don't belong in the classroom give me pause to consider if the education bureaucracy in our state has lost its focus on its true purpose."