A Michigan school district fired a popular high school teacher and coach after he pointed out that "Trump is our president" on social media.
Varsity baseball coach and social studies teacher Justin Kucera said Walled Lake school district officials hauled him into a closed-door meeting after he indicated his support for President Trump's speech to reopen schools. He told the Washington Free Beacon the Walled Lake Western principal and district superintendent gave him an ultimatum: be fired or resign.
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"I was required to meet with [human resources], the superintendent, and my principal [on July 10]. They initially took my statement on why I tweeted those tweets and they told me they would have a decision about my future employment in the upcoming days. When they completed the meeting, I was told I had the option to either be fired or resign." Kucera said.
Neither the school district nor the principal responded to requests for comment.
Kucera said the statement that cost him his job was intended 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.
Bryant Hixson, a recent Walled Lake Western graduate, said his political views have no impact on how he views his coach and teacher.
"Prior to Mr. Kucera's tweet, I cannot recall an instance where he shared his political affiliations while teaching or coaching," Hixson said. "My political views have no impact on how I feel towards Mr. Kucera. Mr. Kucera has always been supportive of me as my AP World History and student leadership teacher and as my baseball and basketball coach."
A parent of two Walled Lake Western boys told the Free Beacon—on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution—that Kucera was an apolitical figure who coached his son in baseball and basketball and taught his sons AP History and student leadership.
"Justin coached my son his entire high school career and also was his AP History teacher and student leadership teacher for two years. I know Justin very well," the parent said. "If there's one thing that I would commend Justin for is, he always tried to stay apolitical. He always tried to stay right down the middle, avoid [political] conversations, and let the students make their own call based on their own life experiences." The father of two believes Kucera lost his job because administrators caved to a mob that had little to do with the school district.
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.
The teachers' union representative that accompanied Kucera at the meeting did not respond to a request for comment.