'In Rust we trust' students make voices heard on teacher transfer

OAKLEY, Calif. (KGO) -- Students rallied Wednesday night for Tyler Rust, a teacher at Heritage High School in Brentwood, shouting, "we trust in Rust," before a Liberty Union School District board meeting.

Cellphone video taken by a student, shows Rust kneeling while ROTC students raised the campus flag before the start of school.

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Rust says he's taken a knee several times, before the start of his workday, to protest police brutality and the treatment of African Americans.

"He's definitely a topic of controversy at our school, but controversy is very good," said Carter Sims who is a student of Rust.

Sims and other students are protesting the district's decision to transfer Mr. Rust to Liberty High School next year.

Rust teaches U.S. history and is an advisor to the Mock Trial club and Black Student Union. "He expresses liberal viewpoints in a very conservative area and has thus become a target of slander sometimes within the student body," said Sims.

Tariq Paulding is a member of the Black Student Union at Heritage High and says Mr. Rust's decision to kneel is for the same reason former 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, kneeled for the national anthem, "it's against police brutality and the unjust killings of African Americans and unarmed minorities." Paulding adds, "hes a voice for the minority students on campus and if he goes, we lose our voice."

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Not everyone supports Rust. One man, whose daughter is a member of ROTC, spoke at the board meeting and said this about the teacher, "he was being an adult bully." He says his daughter and other students, are afraid of Rust and that he should go to another school.

"She also feared her 4.0 GPA might be in danger in Mr Rust's class because of her participation in the ROTC program."

Rust spoke to ABC7 by phone Wednesday night and said he will teach wherever the district and the students need him most.

He also says he's incredibly proud of his students and overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.

In an effort to keep Mr. Rust, students have started an online petition which has more than 12-thousand signatures from people all over the country.

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