Lehi, Utah, High School Teacher Put on Leave for Classroom Vaccine Speech

A high school chemistry teacher has been placed on administrative leave after urging her students to get vaccinated in a video recorded from inside the classroom.

A four-minute video taken by a student in the class shows the woman talking about a range of political topics including the COVID-19 vaccine, climate change and former president Donald Trump.

"I would be super proud of you if you chose to get the vaccine," the teacher, identified by FOX 13 as Leah Kinyon, can be heard saying at one point in the video. "We'll just keep getting variants over and over until people get vaccinated. It's never going to end. It could end in five seconds if people would get vaccinated."

The discussion was recorded by a student from Lehi High School in Utah and later shared with the outlet by his mother, Judy Storms.

"This is my classroom, and if you guys are going to put me at risk, you're going to hear about it," Kinyon adds in the recording. "Because I have to be here. I don't have to be happy about the fact that there's kids coming in here with their variants that could possibly get me or my family sick. That's rude, and I'm not going to pretend like it's not."

Kinyon continues to tackle more contentious topics, saying she'll "straight-up call it out" after acknowledging the students prompted the conversation in the first place.

"If you ask me a legit question I'm not going to lie. I'm not going to sugarcoat it either," she says, adding that politics is a topic "you probably want to avoid in this class."

The chemistry teacher continues to express her opinion about Donald Trump, calling the former president a "sexual predator" and "literal moron."

"I hate Donald Trump. I'm going to say it. I don't care what y'all think—Trump sucks," Kinyon says. He's a sexual predator. He's a literal moron. Don't tattle on me to the freakin' admin; they don't give a crap."

The classroom speech appears to have received mixed reviews with one student heard protesting "this is a chemistry class" while another quips "I think I love you even more now."

Other topics up for discussion included climate change and homophobia.

"If you don't believe in climate change get the hell out," Kinyon says as one student rebuts: "I'll be dead." The response prompts the teacher to reply: "That's pathetic that you think that ... You're the problem with the world."

As the school's Gay-Straight Alliance adviser, Kinyon adds that she will not tolerate homophobia. "If I hear you say a damn word against any of them [members of the LGBTQIA+ community], I will open a can, and I will make your life a living hell," she adds.

Leah Kinyon is listed as a teacher with the Alpine School District, according to the school's directory.

"We became aware late this afternoon of an incident that took place today in one of our high school classrooms. An immediate investigation ensued," a spokesperson for the Alpine School District told FOX13. "The employee has been put on administrative leave pending a thorough investigation. This behavior is inappropriate, not reflective of the professional conduct and decorum we expect of our teachers, and will not be tolerated."

A similar instance occurred at the high school in 2016 when a science teacher was banned for using two words that some students and their parents found offensive.

RevaBeth Russell allegedly used the words "condom" and "boob" while substitute teaching a math class.

At the time, Kinyon set up a Change.org petition 'Let RevaBeth Russell teach at Lehi High!' to get the 32-year teaching veteran reinstated.

"Recently Mrs. RevaBeth Russell was banned from substitute teaching at Lehi High School. She is a 30+ year veteran of Lehi High School. As a teacher of Biology, AP Biology, Environmental science, etc she was, and still is, one of Lehi's finest," Kinyon wrote. "While substituting at Lehi High School Mrs. Russell used two words in a math class that prompted her discipline. Those words were 'boob' and 'condom'. Unfortunately a student made a complaint. This was completely unwarranted and ridiculous."

It remains unclear whether Kinyon will return to teach at the school.

Students sit in classroom
File photo: Students sit in classroom after returning to school for the start of the academic year. Scott Barbour/Getty Images