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Free speech 101: Should a teacher’s anti-military comments get him fired?

Students at Saint Hillary School on May 24, 2017 in Fairlawn, Ohio.
Students at Saint Hillary School on May 24, 2017 in Fairlawn, Ohio.
Duane Prokop/Getty Images for Feeding America

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A Pico Rivera teacher is in hot water after a video of his anti-military comments in class went viral.

Gregory Salcido, El Rancho High School history and government teacher, berated a student for wearing a military sweatshirt with a Marine logo. Salcido called the military, “lowest of the low” and went on a rant disparaging their intelligence, among other explicit comments. As reported by the SoCal News Group, thousands are calling for Salcido’s firing after seeing the video on Facebook.

This video contains explicit content. Viewer discretion is advised:

Salcido is also a Pico Rivera City Council member. Questions are now rising about whether his job is protected under free speech rights. Larry speaks to a First Amendment expert and a local school superintendent for a discussion on what is and isn’t acceptable as speech in the classroom.


Erwin Chemerinsky, dean and professor of law at UC Berkeley Law School and expert in Constitutional law

Alex Rojas, Ph.D., chief operations officer for Siembra Mobile Inc, a company offering school districts software to help high school counselors provide support to students; he is the former superintendent of the Bassett Unified School District, located in the San Gabriel Valley and serving some unincorporated parts of L.A. County and portions of the City of Industry, La Puente and Whittier