Gregory Salcido, the 49 year old California high school teacher that was recorded making a series of disparaging remarks about the United States military was terminated from his position as an educator following a unanimous vote held by the El Rancho Unified School District this week.
When a student entered Salcido’s history’s class wearing a United States Marine Corps sweatshirt in January, Salcido went on an expletive filled rant about the type of person that serves in America’s military, referring to them as “dumb sh*ts” and “the lowest of the low.”
“Because we have a bunch of dumb sh*ts over there,” Salcido said in the video. “Think about the people who you know who are over there. Your freaking stupid Uncle Louie or whatever… They’re not like high-level thinkers, they’re not academic people, they’re not intellectual people. They’re the lowest of our low.”
Salcido’s remarks were recorded in secret by one of his students who felt as though the tirade was inappropriate. It was then uploaded to social media by the student’s mother, where it saw wide distribution as service members and veterans from all over the country voiced their outrage and concern that a man like Salcido was using his position as an educator to influence students in such a manner.
According to statements made by the school district, they received thousands of messages as the video and coinciding story got picked up by national news outlets. It even drew the attention of White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly. Kelly, a retired Marine General who lost his son, Marine Lt. Robert Michael Kelly, while he was serving in combat in Afghanistan.
“Well, I think the guy ought to go to hell,” Kelly said at the time. “I just hope he enjoys the liberties and the lifestyles that we fought for.”
Despite the backlash, Salcido seemed to stand by the underlying message that fueled his initial remarks in subsequent statements made to the press.
“I don’t think it’s all a revelation to anybody that those who aren’t stellar students usually find the military a better option. … That’s not a criticism of anybody. Anything I said had nothing to do with their moral character,” he said during a February city council meeting when the issue was brought up.
“This is probably the most exaggerated situation I’ve ever seen.” he continued.“I do believe the military is not the best option for my students. That does not mean I’m anti-military, because I’m not.”
Salcido’s recent claims that he is not anti-military aren’t really supported in the language used in the footage that was released in January, either. As the separate videos continue, Salcido claims, “The data is in, we don’t have a good military. We couldn’t beat the Vietnamese. They’re a bunch of people this freaking big throwing rice at us.”
“So, if you join the military, it’s because you had no other options,” Salcido said. “It’s because you didn’t take care of business academically, because your parents didn’t love you enough to push you and then you didn’t love yourself enough to push yourself.”
The educators attempts to recharacterize the tone and intent of his statements since, however, did not strike a chord with members of the school district, who quickly voted to dismiss the teacher.
“He’s disgraced us, disgraced this city, disgraced this nation,” said Councilman Bob Archuleta, a veteran whose two sons serve on active duty in the U.S. military.
If there was data to back up Salcido’s position, he may have had a better chance at defending his aggressive rhetoric, however, a recent study published by the Graduate Center at the City University of New York and covered in a recent piece by the Washington Post seems to paint a very different picture of veterans than the history teacher’s portrayal.
According to the study’s findings, based on a decade of data collected between 2005 and 2015, 37% of the adult civilian populace of the United States earns a college degree, compared to nearly 50% of the veteran community. Further, because the military requires a high school diploma or GED to serve, a far higher percentage of veterans have a high school diploma that the general populous as well (1 in 8 young Americans don’t have a diploma, compared to 1 in 33 service members).
Image courtesy of the Associated Press
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