San Francisco: A veteran history teacher in the US has been suspended for comparing President-elect Donald Trump to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler during a post-election lesson.
Frank Navarro, 65, a history and special education teacher at Mountain View High School, Bay Area, California, was asked to leave during school hours after the administration received an email from a parent concerned about statements he made in the class.
Navarro, who has taught at the school for 40 years and is an expert on the Holocaust, said school officials declined to read him the email and also declined his request to review the lesson plan with him. Mountain View/Los Altos High School district superintendent Jeff Harding confirmed the incident which took place last Thursday but declined to describe the parent’s complaints, The Mercury News reported. “This feels like we’re trying to squash free speech,” Navarro was quoted as saying. “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,” he said.
Though Navarro said school officials, who had put him on paid leave, originally told him to return on Wednesday, Harding said he could return earlier. “I had a short lesson paralleling Hitler with Trump when Hitler was running from 1930 to 1933,” Navarro told the New York Daily News. “Hitler said he would make Germany great again, and Trump said he would make America great again,” Navarro said. He also noted that both leaders vowed to deport foreigners.
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 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. Other students defended Navarro.
A change.org petition calling for his return had garnered more than 1,200 signatures. Navarro, who is Mexican-American and was raised in Oakland, said he is concerned for many of his students during this political climate. “I’ve had Mexican kids come and say, ‘Hey, Mr. Navarro, I might be deported,’” he said. “Is it better to see bigotry and say nothing? That’s what the principal was telling me (during our conversation). In my silence, I would be substantiating the bigotry.”