On Thursday, a rather worrying entry was added to the catalogue of the ongoing “relationship” between comedian John Oliver, host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. The two have had an interesting public battle that resulted in the show’s most-watched online clip ever, “Make Donald Drumpf Again.” Millions have viewed the segment on digital platforms, and much of the audience belongs to the coveted demo of high school and college students. Clicks were likely accrued on smartphones and personal computers, but if what happened at Middletown High School South in New Jersey is any indication, countless others have also occurred in classrooms.
According to News 12 New Jersey, history teacher Joseph Ventre was asked to resign at the end of the year after the parent of one of his students complained about a video he showed in class. Specifically, the aformentioned “Make Donald Drumpf Again” segment from Last Week Tonight. The precise reason for the clip’s use wasn’t disclosed to the press, nor was it discussed in detail during a board meeting on Wednesday night, per what parents and students in attendance told the New York Post. According to an online petition started by Lexie Brizzi, one of Ventre’s alleged Middletown High students, however, it has to do with a contract violation:
Mr. Ventre is being forced to resign as a teacher at Middletown South due to showing his political views in the classroom. Although this is a violation of his contract this should not end his career at South.
Despite the apparent violation, Ventre’s students and their parents have come out in droves to support him. From their defending him against school administrators at Wednesday’s meeting and signing the above petition, to supposedly trying to rope in former Daily Show host Jon Stewart‘s help, it seems the history teacher will come out on the right side of things. Especially since, according to Middletown superintendent Bill George, Ventre has rescinded his resignation and is no longer being asked to leave the school.