This screen shot from a social media post initially made by a parent of a student in teacher Jeff Taff’s social studies class shows the Burlington High School teacher’s intent to attend Wednesday’s protest in Washington, D.C. In his Google Classroom instruction to students, Taff writes: “Some of you will understand why! Some will not. I am sorry, but standing up for election integrity and our right to vote in FAIR elections is too important for me NOT to be there.” The school district has placed the teacher on administrative leave while the matter is investigated.

School district launches investigation, but had not talked to teacher as of Thursday

By Jason Arndt

Staff Writer

A Burlington High School social studies teacher who reportedly went to Washington, D.C. to stand up for what he said was “election integrity” has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation by the Burlington Area School District.

The investigation, according to a district news release, comes after a student questioned an assignment posted on the teacher’s online Google Classroom.

Teacher Jeff Taff – who used personal time to make the trip, according to the district – told students he planned on being in Washington D.C. on the same day when a mob of rioters invaded the U.S. Capitol to protest Congress’ attempt to verify Electoral College totals verifying Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 Presidential Election.

In a widely circulated social media post, which shows instructions delivered to students, Taff said he would be gone Tuesday through Thursday with plans of returning Friday.

“Some of you will understand why! Some will not. I am sorry, but standing up for election integrity and our right to vote in FAIR elections is too important for me NOT to be there,” he wrote.

In the same social media post outlining a Cold War curriculum, Taff reportedly posted a YouTube link to a video of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph Giuliani making unfounded claims of voter fraud.

The district, meanwhile, states the trip to Washington was not related to any duties Taff had as a teacher and he “used personal time.”

“The teacher has been placed on administrative leave so that we can investigate the totality of the circumstances, as we have not yet had an opportunity to speak with this teacher.”

It is unclear what role, if any, the teacher had with the mob invasion at the U.S. Capitol.

The invasion caused a delay in Congress affirming Electoral College votes because rioters breached the Capitol, which had been closed to the public at the time, and forced evacuation of both Congressional chambers.

As of Friday, according to reports, five people have died, including a woman shot by police as she broke into the building and a Capitol Police officer who was hit in the head by a fire extinguisher.

At least 80 people have been arrested as of early Friday, news sources said.

In their statement, BASD officials condemned the violence.

“On January 6, 2021, many of use were stunned by the events at our nation’s capital. The Burlington Area School District condemns the actions that took place in the United States Capitol,” the statement said. “We also wish to express our gratitude to those who maintained public safety and express our sympathy to the families of people who were injured or lost their lives.”

The district further stated it did not agree with the violence and criminal activity in Washington, but recognized the political divide in the country.

“In a time that has no precedent, we recognize that within our district, we have varying perspectives,” the district added. “We feel urgency in embracing our entire community of learners as we seek to explore diverse ideas without bias.”

A complete story on the matter will appear in next week’s edition of the Burlington Standard Press.