Victor Quiñonez comes from a family with a long military tradition — a father who served as a Marine in Afghanistan, an uncle who served in Vietnam, and two other uncles who served in Desert Storm. Victor plans to join the Marines after high school. What he didn’t expect was to see that decision mocked by his teacher.Screenshot/KTLA News
As KTLA News reports, Victor was wearing a Marine Corps sweatshirt in his U.S. Government class at El Rancho High in Pico Rivera, California. On seeing the shirt, Victor’s teacher, Gregory Salcido, embarked on an expletive-riddled rant about the U.S. military.
Victor captured the remarks on his cell phone, which a friend of the family later posted to Facebook.
During the tirade, Salcido belittled the military for not achieving quicker victories in Vietnam and the Middle East, using race-based stereotypes (e.g. references to enemies in “robes” and “throwing rice”). Salcido explained that this “data” shows America doesn’t have the best military in the world.
And Salcido knows why the U.S. military is a failure. As he said many times in the video, it’s because the military is made up of, “dumbs***s”:
“We have a bunch of dumbs***s over there. Think about the people who you know who are over there, your freakin’ stupid uncle […] they’re dumbs***s. They’re not, like, high level thinkers. They’re not academic people. They’re not intellectual people. They’re the friggin’ lowest of our low […] They’re not talented people.”
Salcido questioned why schools allow military recruiters on campus, comparing it to allowing “pimps” to come to school and recruit prostitutes.
The teacher also implied that students who join the military have no hope of a college education and are only encouraged to do so by parents desperate to get them out of the house, saying, “If you join the military, it’s because you have no other options.”
To his mother’s horror, Victor was forced to stand in front of Salcido’s class and justify why he wants to be a Marine.
Once the friend posted Salcido’s rant on social media, it quickly gained thousands of views and comments from horrified and angry parents. The post suggested that viewers contact the school board to share their feelings about the teacher’s behavior.
Though she never expected the videos to spark a nationwide controversy, Karen Rodriguez, Victor’s mom, was aghast at the way her son was treated … and just for wearing a Marine Corps sweatshirt to school.
She told Dearly, “I was upset that the teacher would pick on my son over his sweater when he wasn’t breaking any dress code.”
Salcido reportedly responded to the furor via Facebook, explaining that he was out of town and wasn’t going to make any specific comment on the incident. According to KTLA, he added, “We respect the rights of free expression for all individuals.”
However, Victor’s parents think Salcido crossed the line between free expression and inappropriate classroom behavior. In an interview with KTLA, Vicent Quiñonez, Victor’s father, said:
“It’s not […] about freedom of speech. That’s fine, he can say what he wants, but to say it to the youth is wrong. To bully my son is wrong, to discriminate against people who want to be in the military is wrong.”
According to the Whittier Daily News, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Office has ordered extra patrols of the school as well as the Salcido and Quiñonez neighborhoods to ensure the safety of those involved. However, Rodriguez told Dearly that she’s had to keep her children home from school to protect them from retaliation:
“I have all five of my children at home. The direct threats are towards my two sons that go to the high school. The other three is just for safety reason since I worry any friends or family of Mr. Salcido might work in other schools and that bring backlash to my other three kids.”
Victor’s brother is a sophomore at the same school, and Victor told KTLA they’ve both received threats from other students:
“I’m worried about the safety of my brothers right now, I’m not so worried about myself. My brother had nothing to do with this. I don’t understand why students have to go bringing my brother into this and bringing my other family members in to this.”
The Whittier Daily News reports that Salcido has been placed on temporary leave while the school district investigates the incident.
Salcido also serves on Pico Rivera City Council, and the video has prompted calls for him to resign. His fellow councilmembers (including an Army veteran whose two sons are West Point graduates) have issued a statement condemning Salcido’s comments.
Rodriguez believes that Salcido’s behavior demonstrates that he is unfit to be a teacher. She told Dearly:
“I would like to see his teaching credentials taken away. No student should deal with a teacher like that.”
She added that the video is a wake-up call for parents regarding what could happen in their children’s schools. After seeing her son bullied by a teacher and his ambitions mocked and portrayed as stupid, she recommends parents talk to their kids about what’s being taught in the classroom.
Rodriguez told Dearly that parents should “be more aware and ask their kids what is it that the teacher is talking about in class.” What’s more, students and parents alike shouldn’t be afraid to expose teachers like Salcido. He said:
“If something is not appropriate […] speak up.”
Watch more on the story below, via KTLA News: