By MICHAEL RODRIGUEZ
In an exclusive interview with the San Benito News on Friday, the ninth grade teacher whose bizarre rant about Jesus Christ was captured on video and put on YouTube engaged in similar behavior while fielding questions about the incident.
During a telephone interview, 42-year-old Imelda Paredes, a Spanish teacher at San Benito Veterans Memorial Academy, confirmed that she was the educator in question.
The video, filmed by one of her students on Monday, shows Paredes begin a discussion about Jesus Christ and how he was in love with Mary Magdalene, a conspiracy theory popularized by Dan Brown’s fictional novel, The Da Vinci Code.
But the discussion soon turned bizarre when Paredes, who was speaking in Spanish during the majority of the 12-minute video, said that Mary Magdalene is not dead but instead reincarnated in different people.
“Soy yo (It is I),” Paredes said in Spanish, claiming she was the reincarnated Mary Magdalene and that Jesus Christ, who she claimed was in love with her, was planning on taking her to another planet where they would marry and conceive a child.
“I haven’t seen him (Jesus), but he talks to me every day,” Paredes said in the video. “He calls me, and he just recently promised me that he’s coming soon for me and for the good people to take us to the heavens, where I’ll have his baby. I have my husband here, but I don’t know what’s going to happen to him. My husband is Jesus Christ, and he is the one I want to marry.”
A student then asked his teacher, “How can you prove that you are who you say you are?” Paredes replied, “If you look at my eyes, one of my eyes is not mine.” She was referring to an earlier discussion in which she claimed Jesus Christ loved Mary Magdalene so much that he gave her one of the pupils from his eyes.
“Is there anybody that wants to see Jesus?” Paredes continued. “He’s watching you.”
Three students then approached Paredes and stared into her eyes, this before she took off her shoes and walked to her desk, where she played some music and stood motionless for a few minutes.
The scene was so disturbing to those present that two students sitting near Paredes ran out of the classroom. It was at this point that an unidentified administrator escorted the teacher outside.
Although the incident was initially attributed to a bad reaction to medication by a trusted source involved in the matter, Paredes displayed similar behavior when asked why she had made such comments. “Because it’s true,” she replied.
Once clear she was not fit to conduct an interview, the News asked her husband, Adrian Paredes, to speak on her behalf. He said, “I feel that my wife does care a lot about her students, and she loves working in San Benito. There’s really nothing else to say except to please respect my family’s privacy.”
Meanwhile, the video has made its way back onto YouTube after it was temporarily removed by the student who filmed it. One copy has since gone viral, garnering nearly 20,000 views.
Also, since the News broke the story Wednesday via sbnewspaper.com, a number of concerned parents – speaking on the condition of anonymity – criticized school district officials after learning that it wasn’t the first time Paredes suffered such an episode.
In December, Paredes reportedly spoke to her class about the end of the world, according to some of her students.
These concerns were taken to San Benito CISD Superintendent of Schools Antonio G. Limón, who said he considered the number of years she’s been employed with the district when allowing her back in the classroom after the December incident.
“Because it was nine years of never having a problem,” Limón responded when asked why Paredes was allowed to teach again. “I met with both her and her husband, and I had a release from her doctors. It was an isolated incident, and the board was aware of my decision.”
The superintendent confirmed that Paredes, who is still under contract with the district, will not report to work for the remainder of the year until officials can discuss her options.
Before she was named the 2007-2008 San Benito Veterans Memorial Academy Teacher of the Year, Paredes worked for two years with the Los Fresnos school district and nine in Brownsville.
The video can be seen below: