A Texas professor’s bizarre classroom stunt has gotten him suspended and could land him in more trouble, according to The Collegian.
Daniel Mashburn, who is an astronomy instructor in the northeast campus of Texas’ Tarrant County College, showed up to his night class having fully covered his face and hands. Arriving 15 minutes late to class, he switched off the lights without telling anyone the reason. After that, he proceeded to rant about the Quran, the holy book of Islam, and about the insights he had gained into astronomy because of his engagement with the text.
More bizarrely, as if trying to prank the students with his outlandish get up, he began fidgeting with an object in his pocket, prompting some of his students to leave the class. When others asked Mashburn to show his face, he declined and quoted the Quran as the reason for his denial. Understandably fearful of what his real intentions were, Mashburn’s students began leaving the class in packs. The professor continued to rant about the Quran before police officers arrived in the class and escorted him outside.
He was body-searched in front of his students, but no weapon was found on him. Police officials told him that he could not teach inside the classroom anymore, prompting him to continue his “lesson” outside, which was attended only by two remaining students.
Tarrant County College professor suspended after behavior scares students out of classroom https://t.co/qAJ1ZoJP4i
— Dallas Morning News (@dallasnews) January 19, 2018
One of those students was Adrian Vasquez, who told The Collegian that he did not leave the class even after the professor’s bizarre stunt because he did not appear harmful.
“To me, if he can show his identification and answer questions and be searched and not find nothing, that’s pretty much the OK that I’m going to stay,” he said.
But a majority of students did not share Vasquez’s opinion. April McLeod, also a student in Mashburn’s class, told Fox 4 that the way the professor approached the class, switched off the lights, played with an object in his hands, and continued with his histrionics convinced her something was awry about the whole situation.
“Mostly he was talking about different things of the Muslim faith. I was in class for about five minutes. He kept messing with his pocket and you could tell there was an object in the right-hand pocket. And whenever he went to pull out his hand, I started having this really bad feeling and jumped up and ran out of the classroom.”
And while there might be a slight conflict between what the professor meant, Mashburn himself appeared assured about his actions, as peculiar as it might appear to almost all of us. He said he didn’t understand why anyone would leave his class.
“They pay a measly fee, $56 to, at most, $129 — a miserable sum for the knowledge and wisdom that I can pass onto them. Why would they walk out on me? Why would they protest me?”
When a reporter asked him why he would behave so oddly in class, he had an even more odd answer.
“I do not answer to your standard. I am not a Christian. I am not a Jew. I’m a Muslim.” he said, before going on to claim that he had not informed the Tarrant County College officials about his methods of teaching.
“I keep it secret. I keep it safe. I do my best, but I am tired of hiding in the shadows. I am tired of fearing their law. I fear Allah.”
The professor’s bizarre classroom stunt and the inevitable disciplinary action that it might unleash could mean that Daniel Mashburn might have to keep his teachings a secret as well.