A few parents have held a small rally in support of a California high school teacher who dared parents to ‘come at me’ if they had a problem with the way she was running her virtual lessons.
Alissa Piro, a 39-year-old teacher at San Marcos High School, was suspended earlier this week after she was captured ranting at students in a video that was later posted to a private Facebook group, and shared on Twitter by an activist group calling for the full reopening of California schools.
Piro was complaining about a plan to go back to in-person learning that has been driven by parents’ suing school boards across the state. She suggested the parents didn’t know what they were talking about.
A flyer for the pro-Piro rally that was seen by Fox News called on parents to rally in protest of ‘inaction from admin when it comes to racism on campus at SMHS & show support for Mrs. Piro’ but photos posted online showed only about three people showed up.
Supporters at Saturday’s rally claim that she was ‘wrongfully depicted’ in the video (pictured)
Supporters at the rally claim that she was ‘wrongfully depicted’ in the video.
They argued distance learning had been hard on students, teachers and parents alike.
‘If your parent wants to talk to me about their profession and their opinion on their profession, I would love to hear that,’ Piro says in the original video. ‘However, if your parent wants to come talk to me about how I’m not doing a good enough job in distance learning based on what you need as an individual? Just dare them to come at me because I am so sick to my stomach of parents trying to tell educators how to do their job.’
She went on to likened her expertise to that of a doctor.
Piro was suspended after she was filmed ‘going off’ at students in a Zoom call
‘I have never once gone to a doctor’s appointment and tried to tell me medical health provider how to treat me,’ she said. ‘You know why? ‘Cause I know nothing about that.’
On Monday night, the San Marcos Unified School District where Piro had worked since 2016 announced that she had been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.
School principal Adam Dawson agreed Piro’s behavior was ‘inexcusable’ and vowed to address it but critics of the teacher berrated him ‘Do Nothing Dawson’ claiming nothing was done to reprimand the teacher until the video which was filmed in the fall went viral last week.
Dawson wrote to students and parents to express his disappointment over the nature of the conflict.
‘The videos do not represent us as a school community,’ he wrote. ‘We are a No Place for Hate school site that will not stop working for equity, inclusion, and safety for ALL of our students,’ he wrote.
On Wednesday, the school district said school officials were ‘deeply concerned’ about Piro’s behavior.
‘We are deeply concerned about the recent videos that have surfaced regarding one of our employees,’ she said. ‘This is a matter that we take very seriously and it is receiving our highest scrutiny,’ said Tiffany Campbell, the district’s interim superintendent.
Student Jace Jonas, right, revealed how he was yelled at by the teacher in an outburst which saw him being called a ‘moron’.
Jace Jonas, student of Piro’s, explained how he had written in a Zoom chat box after hearing the school had created an Asian student union. He asked why there wasn’t a white union. Piro called him a ‘moron’ for asking the question
On Monday evening one of Piro’s students who had been yelled at by the teacher revealed the circumstances behind the outburst which saw him being called a ‘moron’.
Jace Jonas, told Fox News explained how he had written in a Zoom chat box after hearing the school had created an Asian student union.
‘I wanted to make a comment in the Zoom text box, not disrupting the class. I commented ‘Why do some races get student unions but others do not?’ We should have a student union for all races or no races for true equality,’ he explained.
Piro became frustrated with the question and halted her lesson.
‘Goddammnit!’ she yelled in front of the student online.
‘You don’t need a white student union, Jace. You get everything,’ Piro responded.
‘She started berating me about how as a white male I get everything and it’s my duty to look out for minorities and all these racist remarks against whites and males. She later called me a moron,’ Jace recalled who said he later received hate-filled messages from other students.
Jace’s father Jim described Piro as ‘unhinged.’ The pair went to the school’s assistant principal to alert them about the behavior
Jace told his father Jim and the pair alerted the school’s assistant principal Kelley Brown. Jim described Piro as ‘unhinged.’
Jace eventually met with Piro and the school’s principal Adam Dawson, pictured. Piro apologized
‘I don’t know what school she got her degree at, but maybe she can get her money back,’ he said to Fox.
‘Jace was getting straight A’s in school. After that incident he had a B in that class,’ Jim recalled. Piro blamed a computer error and eventually corrected it.
Jace eventually met with Piro and the school’s principal Adam Dawson. Piro apologized.
It’s believed that at least three other parents who witnessed the exchange on Zoom also reported it to the school and the district.
‘My daughter’s friend had sent the recorded video to her the morning it happened and she showed it to me. Because of our history with this teacher, I knew I needed to speak out with the abuse and bullying and frankly racism that I saw on that video,’ one mother who wished to remain anonymous said.
‘The saddest thing to me is that she created an environment in that Zoom classroom for some of the other students to comment mean things…’
Alissa Piro has been suspended from her position as a teacher at San Marcos High School near San Diego
Another former student of Prio’s also said that she regularly demeaned teenage students who spoke up with political viewpoints that did not tally with her own.
‘She’s a good teacher when she’s teaching but these rants aren’t new,’ she said. ‘I knew I had to change my political views just to please her and get a passing grade. She’d either yell or fail you, or make us feel small for what we believe in.’
‘She does often get political about COVID and how she thinks a return to school isn’t safe,’ a third student said, while another parent whose daughter was taught by Piro described her as a ‘crappy teacher’ with a ‘bad attitude’ adding she was eventually fired.
There were plenty of tweets both for and against the teacher who has now been suspended
‘Based on this clip, I completely agree and support this educator. Coddling of white tears is what has lead us to this place of racial turmoil. We need more educators like her to help our posterity break the wheel of systemic racism,’ wrote one in support of her.
‘Alissa Piro should be fired immediately. She is nothing but a bully and a left-wing punk. There is no way she should be teaching kids anything. Excuse me, I meant to say indoctrinating, not teaching. School choice needs to be enacted to give children a chance to learn,’ said another demanding she be let go.
‘It drives me crazy to see people go around insulting people without knowing what they’re talking about. You’ve seen 2 clips that, for all you know, could be way out of context, but you still call for her to be fired and try to ruin her life? Come on,’ tweeted one user in defense of Piro.
‘Deal with kids and their parents for 6 months and let’s see how the Monday morning quarterbacks feel how they would deal with everything. Teachers are our heroes, not all of them, some. This pandemic has been a relief for a lot of them. Lack of pay, lack of behaved parents/kids,’ chimed another.
Piro is married to fellow teacher Pasquale Piro. The pair have twin daughters
Pasquale, the woman’s husband, teaches at a middle school five miles away from her high school
Piro has since deleted her LinkedIn page and her social media accounts but public records indicate she is married to another teacher in the area and the pair have two daughters.
The exasperated educator complained that she was ‘sick to my stomach of parents trying to tell educators how to do their job’.
Her comments come at a time of heightened tensions between parents, California Governor Gavin Newsom and teachers unions over delays to a return to in-class learning.
A coalition of parents have launched a lawsuit against Newsom and six California school districts seeking eased COVID restrictions and a return to physical classrooms.
The clips appear to have been recorded by the family member of a student, and show Piro discussing the ongoing lockdown and school unions.
Parents in California have been at loggerheads with the state Government and teachers over its reopening strategy.
After a year of virtual learning, there has been intense debate about how to get students back to class.
Gavin Newsom is facing lawsuits and a recall vote over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic
A group of parents in North County, which includes northern San Diego and San Marcos, are suing the state for unfairly prohibiting local school districts from reopening.
Last month the state legislator approved a $6.6billion funding package to assist reopening in-person teaching across the state, including personal protective equipment, ventilation upgrades and COVID-19 testing.
But some parents criticized the package for allowing ongoing at-home learning to continue.
The city of San Francisco filed a lawsuit against its own Board of Education to compel them to release a concrete plan on getting public schools open.
It said the lockdowns favored wealthy students, as private schools had reopened already, and violated their constitutional right to attend public school.
Newsom is facing a recall election, in large part due to criticism over his handling of the pandemic.
Partial school re-openings began in March in schools such as Garfield Elementary School in Oakland. But several lawsuits are underway to force schools to fully reopen at a faster rate