A California educator who once taught top White House aide Stephen Miller is facing disciplinary action from the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District after sharing her memories of her former third-grade student.
Nikki Fiske, a 72-year-old teacher and registered Democrat, sparked controversy with her recollection of Miller as a “strange dude.”
Fiske, who taught Miller at Franklin Elementary School, revealed a detailed depiction of the 8-year-old boy in a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter.
“Do you remember that character in Peanuts, the one called Pig Pen, with the dust cloud and crumbs flying all around him?” she asked. “That was Stephen Miller at 8.”
Describing him as frustratingly messy, Fiske said she “was always trying to get him to clean up his desk” and said she continuously found “stuff mashed up in there.”
She went on to describe additional behavior she found unusual, prompting the district to express concerns about her release of such information.
“He would pour the glue on his arm, let it dry, peel it off and then eat it,” Fiske said of Miller. “He was a strange dude.”
She described the “horrified” reaction of Miller’s parents when they sat down for a conference upon the completion of his third-grade year.
“At the end of the year, I wrote all my concerns — and I had a lot of them — in his school record,” Fiske said. “When the school principal had a conference with Stephen’s parents, the parents were horrified.”
As a result, she said the school’s principal “blanked out” all of her comments for the final report.
“I wish I could remember what I wrote, but this was 25 years ago,” the teacher said. “I’ve taught a lot of third-graders since then.”
She noted that Miller “wasn’t political then,” noting that he only “started to make waves” years after she taught him.
A statement from the district indicated that Fiske has been placed on home assignment pending the completion of a probe into what its next steps might be, the Los Angeles Times reported.
District spokeswoman Gail Pinsker pointed to “allegations that the release may not have complied with applicable laws and district policies” as a primary reason for the action against Fiske.
Pinsker said the district takes “her release of student information” seriously, especially given the widespread coverage the remarks have received in recent days.
“This has been picked up by other digital publications and blogs, and some issues have been raised,” the spokeswoman said.
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