Professor’s anti-Trump classroom rant snowballs into college scandal - video
During a political discussion, Orange Coast College professor Ogla Perez Stable Cox is heard on a recording calling Trump’s election “an act of terrorism.”
“Our nation is divided. We have been assaulted. It is an act of terrorism,” she told the students.
College student, Josh Recalde-Martinez, a member of the school’s Young Republicans Club, told CBSLA he found the remarks insulting and made a video recording of the critique which he posted on YouTube, and it was later shared on Facebook.
Cox, who teaches a course on human sexuality, went on to critique Trump’s cabinet picks, advisers and vice-president elect, Mike Pence.
“A white supremacist and a vice president that is one of the most anti-gay humans in this country,” she said.
Recalde-Martinez told CBSLA at that point “it’s not even education anymore. It's indoctrination.”
A lawyer for the Republicans Club filed a formal complaint against the professor accusing her of “hate speech and bullying tactics.”
Coast Federation of Educations circulated a letter on Thursday defending Cox.
“This video violates the Coast District student code of conduct and California Education code,” they wrote. “The student(s) involved will be facing discipline.”
The California Education code says a recording in a classroom is prohibited without the prior consent of an instructor.
OCC President Dennis Harkins argued Cox had academic freedom to talk about things and that students aren’t legally allowed to record lectures unless the teacher indicated that it was acceptable.
“It’s my understanding that the teacher’s syllabus indicated that recording is not permitted,” Harkins told Coast Report Online.
Cox’s class is one of the most popular on campus and covers topics of gender identity and sexually transmitted diseases.
While in this case it does seem the student violated recording prohibitions, it is the latest instance of a teacher getting into trouble for expressing their views, both left and right, in the classroom.
A teacher in Wesley Chapel, Florida is on administrative leave for reportedly threatening students with deportation. According to a post on by a parent on a student’s Facebook page, the high school teacher and coach John Sousa approached several African-American students in the hallway to ask them what they were doing. He then told them, “don’t make me call Donald Trump to get you sent back to Africa.”
In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, a teacher is on paid administrative leave for using an image of President-elect Donald Trump to criticize President Barack Obama. Northridge High School math teacher Scott Johnson projected an image of Trump in the style of the famous ‘Hope’ poster made famous during Obama’s first campaign. Instead of saying “hope,” though, the image used Trump’s famous tagline from ‘The Apprentice’: “Obama, you’re fired!”
While public school teachers are afforded the right to free speech under the First Amendment of the US Constitution, the freedom doesn’t extend to the classroom because according to the American Civil Liberties Union, public school students are considered “a captive audience.”
“What you say or communicate inside the classroom is considered speech on behalf of the school district and therefore will not be entitled to much protection,” ACLU notes. “Certain types of speech outside the school might also not be protected if the school can show that your speech created a substantial adverse impact on school functioning.”