On 26 January 2017, local news sources reported that the Dallas Independent School District placed Payal Modi, an art teacher at W. H. Adamson High School, on administrative leave. The move came after a video she purportedly published on the day of President Trump’s inauguration went viral:
The video was reportedly first shared on Instagram by Modi on 20 January 2017. After copies of the clip appeared on YouTube, people were apparently offended enough to demand that Modi be fired.
On 26 January 2017, Dallas News reported the efforts were at least partly successful; Modi had been suspended over outrage sparked by the eight second-long video:
An eight-second video was posted to a personal Instagram account on Jan. 20, the date of Trump’s inauguration, showing a woman holding a water gun, pointing it at an image of Trump projected onto a whiteboard, and yelling “Die!” as she shoots the gun. Laughs can be heard in the background, although it is unclear whether students were in the classroom when the video was made.
The original video was reportedly posted on the teacher’s own Instagram account and captioned, “Watching the #inauguration in my classroom like…. #no #stop #denial #squirtgun #hypocrisy #powerless.” That post has been removed, but copies of the video are still circulating on social media.
The school district issued a statement about Modi’s suspension:
Today, we were made aware of a social media posting being circulated involving a teacher at W. H. Adamson High School. The teacher has been placed on administrative leave and the district has opened an investigation. This is a personnel matter and, as such, we cannot comment.
Although the video of Modi was widely shared on blogs and social media, it was not clear whether the purported water gun use occurred in the presence of students or during class time.