FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — A northern Virginia middle school teacher has been placed on leave after he apparently told students in a virtual classroom that he attended the Jan. 6 mob march on the Capitol and described it as a peaceful event.
The short video circulating on social media appears to show Benjamin Plummer, a teacher and soccer coach at Fred Lynn Middle School in Woodbridge, talking to students about the Jan. 6 march and attack on the Capitol.
In the video, the teacher says, “I was there. That’s what I witnessed. … When I heard the media just blaming Trump supporters the whole time, I knew then that it was a setup.”
He goes on to say that “we listened to three months in the summer of organizations destroying cities, burning cities, looting cities. So what does the media say about these people? ‘Oh, they’re peaceful protesters.’ OK. Now you have Trump supporters that are incredibly peaceful. They’re all Christian. They believe in God. They’re not there to damage or hurt things.”
On Friday, school principal Hamish Brewer sent a note to parents of children in Plummer’s class, saying the teacher has been placed on leave from his social studies class.
Prince William County Schools, in a statement provided Tuesday, said that it is investigating.
“Prince William County Public Schools recognizes that employees have a right to engage in political activity on their personal time,” the statement said. “However, employees may not engage in political activities during worktime, on school property, or using school resources, and employees who engage in criminal activity which calls into question their fitness as a role model for students may no longer qualify for employment with PWCS. ”
The statement goes on to say that employees “are required to swear or affirm allegiance and loyalty to the Constitution of Virginia and to the Constitution of the United States. ”
Attempts to reach Plummer by phone and email were unsuccessful Tuesday.
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