EXCLUSIVE: California parents rallied Saturday morning in defense of a San Marcos High School teacher who appeared on videos slamming students whose parents want to reopen in-person learning beginning last fall.
Meanwhile, critics of the same teacher have blasted the school principal Adam Dawson as "Do Nothing Dawson" after they said they reported the teacher’s behavior weeks ago and haven’t seen any action taken until the video went viral after Fox News obtained it.
Neither Dawson nor a district spokesperson immediately responded to multiple requests for comment on that characterization of events.
Alissa Piro, an English teacher, appeared miffed over a lawsuit that a different group of parents leveled against Gov. Gavin Newsom and a half dozen North County school districts seeking to reopen schools shuttered during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"If your parent wants to come talk to me about how I'm not doing a good enough job in distance learning based on what you need as an individual? Just dare them to come at me," she says. "Because I am so sick to my stomach of parents trying to tell educators how to do their job."
She went on to liken her expertise to that of a doctor.
"I have never once gone to a doctor’s appointment and tried to tell me medical health provider how to treat me," she said. "You know why? ‘Cause I know nothing about that."
She did issue a quick apology at the end of her rant, which took place in the fall but became public last week.
A family member of a student in the class recorded the video, then shared it to a private Facebook group aimed at reopening schools in the district, before being obtained by Fox News along with another recording of Piro yelling at a student who questioned why there wasn’t a "White student union."
Dawson, in a letter students and parents Wednesday, expressed disappointment over the divisive nature of the conflict and said the videos "do not represent us as a school community."
"We are a No Place for Hate school site that will not stop working for equity, inclusion, and safety for ALL of our students," he wrote.
But the call for unity may not have assuaged the differences between opposing parent groups.
A flyer for the pro-Piro rally, obtained by Fox News Friday evening, called on parents to rally in protest of "inaction from admin when it comes to racism on campus at SMHS & show support for Mrs. Piro."
According to district parents, Piro had once been fired from a different school for similar divisive conduct around students.
But her supporters at Saturday’s rally said she was "wrongfully depicted" in the video and argued that distance learning has been hard on students, teachers and parents alike.
Neither Piro nor her husband, another teacher in the district, immediately responded to Fox News requests for comment.
Tiffany Campbell, the district’s interim superintendent, said in a statement earlier this week that educators there were tasked with challenging students but that "excellence" is only obtained "when we accept only the best from every individual."
"We are deeply concerned about the recent videos that have surfaced regarding one of our employees," she said. "This is a matter that we take very seriously and it is receiving our highest scrutiny."
Campbell confirmed that a teacher had been placed on administrative leave following the video’s release but did not confirm his or her identity, citing the open investigation, due process and privacy.