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LEHI — Alpine School District announced a chemistry teacher at Lehi High School is no longer employed at the school Wednesday after a student's recording of her sharing political opinions in class circulated on social media.
Alpine School District officials announced late Tuesday evening the teacher had been placed on administrative leave. But by mid-Wednesday, they said she was no longer employed by the district after an investigation into the incident. They did not say whether she was fired or resigned.
"Although the details of a personnel investigation are confidential, the teacher involved is no longer an employee of Alpine School District," officials said in an updated statement.
"This behavior is inappropriate, not reflective of the professional conduct and decorum we expect of our teachers, and will not be tolerated," the district said in a previous statement Tuesday evening.
The video, apparently taken surreptitiously from a low angle by a student on the first day of school, was shared online by conservative activist Eric Moutsos, who has led demonstrations against COVID-19 mandates across the state since the early days of the pandemic.
The video takes place during what appears to be a casual conversation with students, as some chat and laughter can be heard in the background, and students can be heard asking questions. The video contains some profanity.
The teacher begins by voicing her exhaustion with the pandemic and concern over coronavirus variants, saying she'd be proud if a student chose to get vaccinated. She then goes on to say she hates former President Donald Trump, adding that he "sucks," and urges her students not to watch Fox News.
Utah County is one of the most conservative areas in the state.
In a statement that drew ire from people on social media, the teacher tells her students they don't need to believe what their parents believe because "most of ya'll parents are dumber than you."
She later warns students in the video not to ask her about politics and says she "can go off on it" the whole class period, but that she's not going to. She then adds that if students don't believe in climate change, they should "get the hell out."
When one student is heard giving a muffled response, she says: "That's pathetic that you think that. You're the problem with the world," prompting laughter from class members.
The incident occurred as Utah continues to experience tension over whether controversial political ideas should be taught in school. The state has been undergoing a debate about critical race theory after members of the State Legislature urged the school board to ban its teaching this spring during an extraordinary session.
The Utah Republican Party in a statement late Tuesday called the video "nothing short of appalling."
"This was absolutely distasteful and does not represent Utah. This type of rhetoric should not be tolerated in the slightest. We are grateful that the Alpine School District took quick action," party officials said. "We encourage parents to have open conversations with their children about what is being taught in schools."