After attempting to draw parallels between President-elect Donald Trump and Germany’s fascist Nazi, Adolf Hitler, in his high school lesson plan, a history teacher in California has been placed on leave.
Having taught at Mountain View High School for 40 years, Frank Navarro was ordered to leave campus in the middle of the school day last week after school officials received an email complaint from a parent who raised concerns about statements he made to students during class. Even though details were not given about the parent’s complaints, Mountain View/Los Altos High School District Superintendent Jeff Harding confirmed the incident on Friday.
Considered to be an expert on the Holocaust, Navarro claimed that school officials would not read him the parent’s email complaint. He also maintained that they refused to review the lesson plan with him upon request.
Slap on the wrist
Harding indicated that the veteran history teacher was cleared to return to his classroom as early as Monday, but Navarro said that school officials initially told him he could return to campus on Wednesday.
Navarro contends that everything comes down to a First Amendment issue – even though critics believe he is propagating a pro-Democratic, politically correct worldview from behind the lectern.
“This feels like we’re trying to squash free speech,” the Leftist teacher expressed, according to Fox News. “Everything I talk about is factually based. They can go and check it out. It’s not propaganda or bias if it’s based on hard facts.”
Harding and the district appeared to just be going through the motions to appease the questioning parent’s fear that the teacher’s Leftist political views motivated his controversial lesson.
“We are interested in getting Frank back in the classroom,” the superintendent explained, as reported by The Monterey Herald. “We’re just trying to maintain our due diligence. We have a heightened emotional environment right now with the election. It’s always a challenge to maintain a line in a classroom.”
Leftist anger abounds
With the liberal climate that extends well beyond the city limits of San Francisco, emotions have been flaring around the California school district ever since Trump beat Democratic rival Hillary Clinton for the presidency.
“Tensions have run high throughout the Bay Area after Trump’s victory, with many protesting in the streets and hundreds of students staging walkouts,” The Monterey Herald’s Tatiana Sanchez reports. “Navarro’s suspension came on the same day Milpitas High School Principal Phil Morales was placed on administrative leave for using profanity about the president-elect during a student walkout in protest of Trump. Though he said he regretted the language he used, Morales stood by his actions and said he would continue advocating for his students.”
Milpitas High School is located approximately 16 miles from Mountain View High School.
With some students calling out the liberal instructor for using his platform to blast the conservative winner of the election, others said he was entitled to deride the president-elect with his self-professed “facts.”
“The Oracle, Mountain View High’s independent student newspaper, said some of Navarro’s students alleged his lessons were one-sided and that Navarro said things about Trump that his supporters would find offensive,” Sanchez continued. “Other students defended Navarro. A change.org petition calling for his return had more than 1,200 signatures as of Friday evening.”
Political rant masquerading as history lesson?
Because the Left-leaning history teacher has done some studies on the Jewish plight during World War II, he believes that it gives him license to compare Hitler’s slaughter of 6 million Jewish Holocaust victims with Trump’s remarks on immigration and racial tensions between police officers and African Americans.
“Navarro, who also teaches special education, argues his lesson plan was not based on opinion, but historical facts,” the Herald stated. “The 65-year-old was named a Mandel Fellow for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1997 and has studied at the International Center for the Study of the Holocaust in Jerusalem. [Navarro argued that] Hitler’s persecution of Jews and rise to power has ‘remarkable parallels’ to Trump’s comments on Latinos, Blacks and Muslims in his own bid for power.”
The defensive high school teacher insists that his lesson was objective because he has studied the Holocaust in the past.
“I said [to school officials], ‘I’m not pulling these facts out of my hat,” Navarro recounted. “It’s based on experience and work and if I’m wrong, show me where I’m wrong.’ And there was silence.”
Having been brought up in Oakland, California, as a Mexican-American, Navarro insists that his anti-Trump lessons are based in the concern that he has for his [Latino] students in the midst of the highly volatile political climate surrounding the presidential election.
“I’ve had Mexican kids come and say, ‘Hey, Mr. Navarro, I might be deported,’” Navarro shared with The Monterey Herald.
The high school teacher went on to champion himself as a defender and hero of minorities, believing that his politically motivated lesson in some way worked to protect his students.
“Is it better to see bigotry and say nothing?” Navarro posed? “That’s what the principal was telling me [during our conversation]. In my silence, I would be substantiating the bigotry.”