Dallas teacher on leave after posting Trump tirade video
DALLAS - A Dallas ISD teacher is on administrative leave after posting a video on social media of her staging a “mock assassination” of President Donald Trump.
The video shows Adamson High School art teacher Payal Modi squirting a water gun at a video image of President Donald Trump during his inauguration and screaming, “Die!”
The original video was reportedly posted on the teacher's own Instagram account and captioned, “Watching the #inauguration in my classroom like…. #no #stop #denial #squirtgun #hypocrisy #powerless.” That post has been removed, but copies of the video are still circulating on social media.
It’s not clear if there were any students in the classroom at the time, but other voices can be heard in the background of the video
Some students and parents say the teacher crossed the line.
“Some people doesn't like him as our president,” said student Myesha McFail. “But it still doesn't mean that you do something like that.”
“It’s supposed to be in a professional way, in a conduct to where you teach your students,” said parent Christina Ortiz. “You have a freedom of speech and opinion, but you need to do it properly.”
Christian Leos is in one of her classes, though he did not witness what happened.
“I don't know if she meant it,” the student said. “I'm sure she just meant it in a funny way because that's how she is. She's usually trying to make jokes.”
Leos says Modi is very “sarcastic" but says he’s still surprised by what he saw in the video.
“Just because you don't like whatever's going on, we don't show it like that,” he said. “There's other ways to show it.”
A letter went home to parents letting them know what happened.
The school released a statement saying, “The teacher has been placed on administrative leave and the district has opened an investigation. This is a personnel matter and, as such, we cannot comment."
And while DISD board members can't comment on the incident directly, they said teachers need to be better role models.
“Even if you disagree with certain political issues or political figures, I think we owe it to kids to set the right example when it comes to civility and politics,” said board member Miguel Solis.
“Go to class. If she's an art teacher, teach art but not your personal political views, not in the classroom,” said board member Lew Blackburn.
FOX 4 reached out to Modi several times for comment but have not heard back.
Once the investigation is done, it will be up to the administration to decide if she will be fired or face any other punishment.
According to the student handbook, possessing a toy gun would be considered a level one offense for a student.
A spokesperson for the Secret Service says they are aware of the situation but cannot comment about any investigative action that might be underway.