Texas Teacher Is Replaced After Telling Students She's Engaged To Jesus
A Texas teacher was replaced after delivering a monologue to her Spanish class about her unusual spiritual beliefs, which included asserting that she is Mary Magdalene and would be married to Jesus. One student recorded it on camera and posted it on YouTube, reports TV station KGBT in Harlingen. A few other apparently weirded-out students discreetly left the classroom for help, and the teacher was escorted from the classroom.
The school superintendent later claimed that the comments by Imelda Paredes, a ninth-grade teacher at San Benito Veterans Memorial Academy, were the result of a bad reaction to medication. But Paredes, who had been honored by the San Benito School District as Teacher of the Year in 2007, insisted that she said those things "because it's true."
Paredes, 42, began her 12-minute speech by describing how Jesus had fallen in love with Mary Magdelene when he was 12. Continuing in Spanish, she explained that he impregnated her before his crucifixion.
Paredes said that she and Jesus will marry one day because she is Mary Magdelene and has stayed up all night chatting with the Son of God. Wedding preparations were already underway in Heaven, she added.
One student said that he knew the teacher's husband. She replied that her only husband was Jesus.
And she could prove it too, she said. If they looked into her eyes, they would see that one of her eyes belonged to Jesus, who gave it to her because he always wanted to see what she saw. "Is there anybody who wants to speak to Jesus?" she asked. "He's watching you."
A few students took Paredes up on her offer, as their classmates giggled, or looked on quietly. "Staring contest!" one of them shouts. The teacher then put on some ethereal music, and stood in silence.
The students who ran out came back with an administrator who removed Paredes from the room. "I've never had a possessed teacher," one of the students said.
Paredes had also informed students that God would soon destroy the world, but that Jesus had created another, more beautiful planet where everyone was 25 years old.
When the video ended up online, the San Benito school superintendent told The Brownsville Herald that the teacher had a bad reaction to her medications. It wasn't the first time that Paredes reportedly had such an episode, to the dismay of some parents. In December she allegedly brought up the imminent apocalypse to students. But Paredes had been at the school in southern Texas for nine years, so the district forgave it.
"I met with both her and her husband, and I had a release from her doctors," Superintendent Antonio Limon said. "It was an isolated incident, and the board was aware of the decision."
But when the San Benito News questioned Paredes about her comments, she claimed that her remarks were accurate. Paredes has been replaced for the last few weeks of the school year while the incident is under review.
Paredes isn't the first teacher to be caught on video behaving bizarrely, or expounding peculiar religious beliefs. In 2010, a high school teacher in Nashville was recorded on video screaming, and throwing tables and a garbage can, as students fled the room.
A few years before, a New Jersey history teacher was recorded telling students that they would go to Hell if they didn't accept Jesus as their savior, that evolution and the Big Bang weren't scientific, and that global warming theorists used tactics similar to Hitler's to get people to believe their lies.
In response, Kearny High School began training teachers on the separation of church and state. It also banned students from videotaping in the classroom without the teacher's permission.
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Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin.
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