PICO RIVERA (CBSLA) – A Pico Rivera city councilman and high school teacher who was recorded in January making disparaging remarks about U.S. military members to his students – igniting a storm of criticism — was fired Tuesday night.
The El Rancho Unified school board voted in closed session to fire El Rancho High School teacher Gregory Salcido who was heard in viral videos making comments critical of military members.
Salcido will remain on paid leave, pending any appeals to the State Office of Administrative Hearings, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported.
Salcido did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The video of Salcido first went viral in January, in which he can be heard chastising 17-year-old student Victor Quinonez for wearing a U.S. Marines sweatshirt and calling military members the “lowest of our low.” He has been on leave since.
“My goal, as it relates to my students, related to the military, is to get them to do everything to get to college,” Salcido said at a city council meeting Feb. 13 defending his comments. “It’s not just the military, I don’t want them working at a fast food restaurant either. And any comment related to, is out of context. I’m talking about their academic standing. I don’t think it’s at all a revelation to anybody that those who aren’t stellar students usually find the military a better option.”
The video prompted a response from as high up the chain as White House Chief Of Staff John Kelly, who said, “I think the guy ought to go to hell.” Kelly is a former U.S. Marine Corps general.
Since the audio surfaced, Salcido also had his committee appointments rescinded by the Pico Rivera City Council, although he has refused to resign from that post.
At a city council meeting in February, Salcido faced a large group of protesters who called on him to resign. His fellow city council members passed a resolution calling for his resignation, but do not have the power to fire him.
“If he had any respect for himself he should resign,” Councilman David Armenta said in February. “The community does not like what he’s said.”
After he announced he would not resign from his city council seat, his El Rancho High colleague Raul Elias filed a petition to recall him from City Council.
City Clerk Anna Jerome is in the process of verifying that petition. Once she does, Elias will have 120 days to collect at least 6,386 signatures — 20 percent of Pico Rivera’s registered voters to trigger a recall election.
This wasn’t Salcido’s first controversy. He’s been placed on administrative leave at least twice before, once in 2012 for hitting a student and once in 2010 for allegedly threatening a student, according to the Tribune.
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