‘Come at me’: Zoom captures CA teacher berating students, daring parents over in-person learning

When California Gov. Gavin Newsom talked about how “brutal” the challenges of Zoom school are, we’re pretty sure he wasn’t referencing teachers berating students.

San Marcos High School teacher Alissa Piro was captured on video copping serious attitude with her students, aggressively challenging them about their parents’ desire to end remote classes and return to in-school learning full time.

A family member of a student in attendance reportedly recorded the interaction and the video was shared to a private Facebook group of people looking to reopen schools in the district.

In one clip, the English teacher appears to be referencing a lawsuit filed by a coalition of parents against Newsom and six North Country school districts to ease restrictions in place due to the pandemic and accelerate the return of children to the classroom.

“If your parent wants to talk to me about their profession and their opinion on their profession, I would love to hear that,” she said. “I know very little about anything else in the world other than education.”

“However, 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,” Piro continued. “Because I’m so sick to my stomach of parents trying to tell educators how to do their job.”

She then put her profession on the same level as a physician, telling the class, “I have never once gone to a doctor’s appointment and tried to tell my medical health provider how to treat me.”

In another video, the teacher gets aggressive with a student asking about a “white student union.”

“You don’t need a white student union, Jake. You get everything,” Piro shot back, shutting the student down.

The school district recently agreed to a hybrid model allowing for in-person learning two days a week, after more than a year of remote learning, Fox News reported. At the same time, local unions reportedly voted to keep the hybrid model for the remainder of the school year, prompting outrage from parents and students anxious to return to in-person instruction.

The “Reopen California Schools” Twitter account also tweeted that Piro celebrates “the half-baked hybrid plan as providing ‘small class instruction,'” asking if that’s the end game here, which amounts to reducing educational minutes.

The videos were brought to the attention of the school principal, Adam Dawson, a few weeks back, the mother of one of Piro’s students told Fox News.

Dawson reportedly agreed that Piro’s behavior was “inexcusable,” yet failed to follow through on a vow to address it, the parent said. She also told the network she “cried” after watching the video.

“These poor kids have endured so much. I held onto the video for 3 months and hardly told a soul fearing retaliation,” she said. “I shared it with some of my close friends a few weeks ago when I saw her behavior was continuing this term and I felt awful for not standing up for these kids sooner.”

The parent called Piro a “bully” in the “Open SM Schools” private Facebook group.

“She’s a bully,” she wrote. “These rants were so often my child said he ‘tuned her out’ and was just trying to get thru the class…this is exactly what’s wrong with education and if the school district sweeps this then they are just as responsible.”

Another parent wrote that Piro was previously fired as an elementary school teacher, adding that based on her current actions, she appears to have “gone downhill” since.

The irony here is that last month, Gov. Newsom tried to paint himself as a champion of reopening the public schools during an appearance on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”

“I’ve been a strong advocate for safely getting our kids back in person for instruction,” he said. “I have four young kids myself. I’ve been living through Zoom school and all of the challenges related to it. It’s brutal.”

Considering the governor’s four children attend a private school in Sacramento that returned to full-time in-person learning in November after a period of ‘hybrid’ home and school classes, Newsom has no idea just how brutal it really is in some schools.

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Tom Tillison

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