The Sanford School Department says a longtime substitute teacher who was recorded on videotape having a politically charged conversation with a student is no longer employed by the district.

The female teacher, who is not being identified because it is a personnel matter, was let go after the exchange about President Trump’s proposed border wall and the impact it could have on immigrants, according to a statement issued Tuesday by Superintendent of Schools David N. Theoharides.

Since the minute-long video clip of the exchange was posted on Twitter and YouTube, it has been viewed thousands of times. The Sanford School Department started investigating the encounter once it was brought to officials’ attention Friday morning.

The incident occurred after Trump sparked international outrage when it was reported that he made disparaging remarks about immigrants in a reference to Haiti, El Salvador and African nations.

“Sanford is proud of our teachers and staff, and commends them for modeling tolerance every day and practicing good judgment when speaking with students about controversial issues,” Theoharides said. “While, as a matter of law, I cannot comment on specific personnel matters, I can report that the substitute involved is no longer an employee with the Sanford School Department.”

WARNING: This video contains profanity


In a video clip posted Thursday night to Twitter by @brodyahmar, the student and teacher start having a conversation about the proposed wall on the United States border with Mexico. The conversation occurred in a classroom of 11th-graders at Sanford Regional Technical Center, which accepts students from outside Sanford.

The teacher tells the student, “Oh, you’re getting kicked out of my country.” When the student says it’s his country, too, the teacher responds, “It’s been mine longer than it’s been yours.”

Later in the video, the teacher says that “When Donald Trump is done we’re going to have office …” before she is interrupted. She then continues, “instead of 1,100 in this building, we’re gonna have seven.”

In a previous interview, Theoharides describes the teacher as a longtime substitute, who is “very well-respected.”

Theoharides said students from eight school districts take classes at the Sanford Regional Technical Center. He said the student who videotaped the conversation attends Noble High School in North Berwick. Theoharides said in a telephone interview Tuesday night that he doesn’t feel comfortable identifying the teacher or the student.

Theoharides said students are not allowed to have cellphones in the classroom. He said he heard that there was a longer 10-minute video of the classroom encounter, but added that he had not seen that one.


In the 1-minute video posted on Twitter and Youtube, the teacher tells the student that the U.S. has been her country longer than his. The student responds by saying, “I don’t care. I still ain’t goin’ nowhere. You really think that wall scares me? It ain’t doing nothin.’ ”

The teacher points out that ain’t isn’t proper English and tells the student to “talk my language.” The student, who uses vulgar language on two occasions, responds by saying he speaks three languages.

“The Sanford School Department is committed to providing the best education and educational environment for our students,” Theoharides said in his statement. “By policy and practice, our staff works hard to ensure that all our students have a safe and nondiscriminatory educational experience.”

“In regard to this recent incident involving a substitute teacher and a student at the Sanford Regional Technical Center, the school investigated the matter immediately and took appropriate steps to ensure that such behavior does not recur,” he said.

WGME interviewed the teacher – but did not identify her by name or show her image – on Tuesday. The teacher told the television station that she feels like the student baited her. The teacher told WGME that she had worked for the Sanford School Department for 18 years.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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