EXCLUSIVE: Several California high school students broke their silence on Monday after a video of their teacher berating them during two separate virtual learning sessions went viral over the weekend.
In a video obtained by Fox News, San Marcos High School teacher Alissa Piro can be heard raising her voice at a virtual classroom of juniors, daring their parents to “come at me” over their collective push to end remote learning and return to in-person instruction full time.
In another video shared on Facebook, Piro can be heard aggressively yelling at a student who inquired about a “White student union.”
“You don’t need a White student union, Jace. You get everything,” the teacher retorts.
The San Marcos student, identified as Jace Jonas, told Fox News on Monday that Piro’s outburst was prompted by a question he wrote in the Zoom chat box after the school announced the creation of 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, visibly frustrated with Jace, paused her lesson before shouting “Goddammnit” in front of the student and his peers, he recalled.
“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.”
The exchange created a wedge between students, some of whom sent Jace hate-filled messages over his remark.
“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 told Fox News.
“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…”
Jace and his father Jim Jonas alerted the assistant principal Kelley Brown of the troubling exchange. Jim described Piro as “unhinged.”
“I don’t know what school she got her degree at, but maybe she can get her money back,” he said.
At least three other parents who saw the exchange also reported it to the school and the district, they told Fox.
Jace was granted permission to skip Piro’s class for five days. Before he returned, Jace and his father sat down with Piro and Principal Adam Dawson for a “restorative meeting” during which he said Piro apologized.
Despite this, Jace’s dad was surprised to find that his son’s grade in Piro’s class had dropped weeks later.
“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.
A former student told Fox News that Piro would regularly demean teens who vocalized political viewpoints that differed from her own.
“She’s a good teacher when she’s teaching but these rants aren’t new,” she said.
“Learning stops the minute this happens.”
The student recalled being afraid to participate in Piro’s class, a sentiment that was shared by more than three students who spoke exclusively to Fox. She said most of her classmates knew they had to write assignments that were in line with Piro’s political views to pass the course and spare themselves the embarrassment of being belittled before their peers.
“I knew I had to change my political views just to please her and get a passing grade” she told Fox News. “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,” another student said, adding that Piro would frequently sound off against former President Trump’s border wall and gun control policies.
“Learning stops the minute this happens,” her mother told Fox News.
Another parent whose daughter was taught by Piro at a High Tech Middle School in 2013 described her as a “crappy teacher” with a “bad attitude.” The mother said Piro was eventually fired, but parents were not given information as to why.
As parents grew increasingly “irate” with Piro’s behavior, many of them made principal Dawson aware of the troubling videos several weeks ago. Dawson agreed that Piro’s behavior was “inexcusable” and vowed to address it.
The district announced that Piro had been put on administrative leave pending investigation in a statement to Fox News on Monday night. The statement said school officials were “deeply concerned” about Piro’s behavior, but vowed to uphold her “due process and privacy rights” while the investigation plays out.
Piro did not respond to Fox News’ repeated requests for comment.
Fox News’ Joshua Dudzik contributed to this report.
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