Substitute teacher suspended for remarks supporting Putin’s invasion of Ukraine

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A Virginia public school district has reportedly suspended a substitute teacher after make comments in support of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Washington Post reported that Arlington Public Schools (APS) sent a letter to substitute teacher John Stanton on Tuesday notifying him that he was suspended due to “an allegation of comments made to students during instructional hours regarding sensitive world events with Russia and Ukraine.”

APS wrote in its letter that Stanton can file a petition for his reinstatement within five days, But Stanton refused to do so, according to the Post.

Stanton reportedly made the remarks while he was teaching an eighth-grade Spanish class at Swanson Middle School on Friday.

“I said, ‘Here’s what’s going on,'” Stanton told the Post. “{But} the statement I think that got me was I said, ‘I personally support the logic of Putin,’ and what I meant by that is, he made a rational decision from his perception.”

Stanton also said he told students to read multiple news sources including state-run Russian media outlet Sputnik News.

Stanton, 65, previously worked for Sputnik News as a reporter, but was fired in 2018 after he provided information about the outlet to an unnamed third-party source, according to PBS.com.

APS spokesperson Frank Bellavia said in a statement that Stanton was hired from a pool of substitute teachers that “don’t have to have any background in the subject area they are subbing in,” declining to comment further on the incident, per the Post.

The Hill has reached out to Arlington Public Schools for comment.

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