A Michigan public high school teacher has been fired allegedly for posting on Twitter that “Donald Trump is our president.”
According to The Washington Free Beacon, social studies teacher Justin Kucera said he was “hauled […] into a closed-door meeting” with his principal and superintendent where he was told he could resign … or be canned.
I’m done being silent. @realDonaldTrump is our president ❌🧢
Don’t @ me
— Coach Kucera (@CoachKWLW) July 7, 2020
Kucera, who also serves (re: served) as the Walled Lake Western HS baseball coach, said the intent of his tweet was “to unify, rather than divide.”
“I know a lot of people are just rooting for Trump to fail, and I don’t think that anybody should do that,” Kucera said. “Agree with him or not, you should want the president to do well. I apologized that [my tweet] brought so much negative attention, but I’m not sorry for what I said.”
Kucera was a popular figure at the high school before the episode, according to parents and former teachers. Even his detractors lauded him on social media as they condemned the tweet. One student said she would need to find a new “favorite teacher” after seeing the missive. Multiple sources said that the teacher never brought politics into the classroom. …
Other Walled Lake teachers have expressed their political views without any repercussions. Paulette Loe, a now-retired Walled Lake Western teacher, encouraged students to read an article from the Atlantic about “how to beat Trump” while still employed. Nicole Estes, a kindergarten teacher in the district, called Trump a “sociopath” and a “narcissist” on Facebook in 2016 and is still employed at Keith Elementary School. Neither Loe nor Estes responded to requests for comment.
Fox Business reports Kucera also had shared a tweet from the president which states “SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!” In addition, Walled Lake Superintendent Kenneth Gutman denied he was even present at the meeting in which Kucera was given the (alleged) ultimatum.
Gutman also said “no disciplinary action was taken as a result of any support of President Trump.”
The school district confirmed to The Blaze that Kucera is no longer employed, adding
These are difficult times in our community and across our country. When issues arise there’s a temptation to view items through the lens of our fractured political discourse. Walled Lake encourages students and staff members to engage each other with mutual respect and civility.
We believe in the power of education and critical thinking. We believe vigorous community discussion, done with civility and mutual respect, leads to productive and innovative outcomes. In the Walled Lake Schools’ educational setting, we encourage positive discourse and working together to make decisions that benefit our community.
It’s not clear if Kucera has tenure. Even if he doesn’t, and the facts are just as he’s stated, the district could face potential First Amendment legal hassles. (Kucera’s Twitter profile notes he graduated from the University of Michigan in 2014; if he began teaching that year, that would be long enough to get tenure in Michigan.)
Kucera’s Twitter feed appears moribund since July 7. Recent retweets before then include one (seemingly from a relative) mocking Michigan Governor Whitmer’s COVID-19 measures, and another from a philanthropist who stated he was making a donation to George Floyd’s family.
The Walled Lake district is located in the Greater Detroit area.
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