In January, El Rancho High School teacher Gregory Salcido was filmed by a student ranting against the military and service members in the classroom, calling our troops “dumbsh**s” and “the lowest of our low.” The footage caused national outrage as local residents, veterans’ organizations, and even military officials weighed in to condemn the remarks.
Two months after Salcido made the remarks in his classroom, the El Rancho Unified School District voted unanimously to fire the teacher.
“His comments do not reflect what we stand for, who we are,” said Board of Education President Aurora Villon. “The classroom should never be a place where students feel that they are picked at, bullied, intimidated.”
Superintendent Carlin Aguilera added, “All the evidence led to the recommendation that I, as the superintendent, made to the board and to the decision that the board made today.”
The incident at El Rancho High School was prompted when Salcido noticed 17-year-old student Victor Quinonez wearing a United States Marine Corps sweatshirt. Quinonez, who wants to be a Marine himself, told Fox News that Salcido has “a history of being anti-military.”
In the video captured on a cell phone, Salcido speaks for several minutes, bashing service members and veterans, comparing military recruiters to pimps, and even making comments about the victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
“Think about the people who you know who are over there. Your freaking stupid Uncle Louie or whatever. They’re dumbsh**s,” Salcido said in his classroom. “They’re not like high-level thinkers, they’re not academic people, they’re not intellectual people. They’re the lowest of our low.”
Gregory Salcido later apologized at a Pico Rivera city council meeting, but his attempts to clarify his original comments seemed to stir more controversy. “My goal as it relates to my students is to get them to do everything to get to college,” Salcido said at the meeting. He added, “It’s not just the military, I don’t want them to work at a fast food restaurant either….I don’t think it’s at all a revelation to anybody that those who aren’t stellar students usually find the military a better option.”
As local residents and veterans’ organizations expressed outrage at the remarks, which went viral on the internet, even White House Chief of Staff John Kelly — a retired Marine general whose son died in combat — expressed his opinion about the teacher’s words. Kelly told Fox News, “Well, I think the guy ought to go to hell. I just hope he enjoys the liberties and the lifestyles that we fought for.”
This is not the first time Gregory Salcido has been disciplined by the school district. He was placed on administrative leave twice before — in 2010 for allegedly threatening a student and again in 2012 for hitting a student. He is also a councilman for the city of Pico Rivera, California, but has refused to resign from the position amid the latest controversy.
Once the video of his remarks became public, the El Rancho Unified School District placed Salcido on paid administrative leave while an investigation was conducted. The board of education said that he will remain on paid administrative leave during the 30-day period, during which Salcido can file an appeal.
When the board of education announced its decision to terminate Gregory Salcido’s employment, the room burst into applause.
Watch the El Rancho Board of Education announce the termination of Gregory Salcido in this video.