Saturday, March 9, 2013

Visalia California High School Teacher Investigated After Posting Inappropriate (And Illiterate) Anti-Gay Comment On USA Today Story About Athletes Coming Out

In California, a Visalia math and science teacher is under fire after possibly posting what the school district is calling an inappropriate anti-gay comment. The Visalia Unified School District is beginning the early stages of an investigation into Steven Post, a Redwood High School teacher, district officials said. Claims were made Friday that Post commented on a USA Today story about athletes, particularly those in the NFL, coming out as gay. The story dealt with Brendon Ayanbadejo, a Baltimore Ravens player who has adamantly fought for gay rights, including the right for same sex marriage. The problem is not that Post made a comment, as the school district respects freedom of speech, school officials said. The problem comes with what was posted and what may have been implied, said Cindi Costa, assistant superintendent of human resources. The comment as stated read, “The hom osex uals [sic] will destroy you if you say anthing (sic) against them. They have a Facists (sic) agenda. They will stomp on you with their jackboots if you say anything against them. Period.” The comment, which identified Post as the person who wrote it, also identified that he worked for Visalia Unified School District and that he was a math and science teacher. The comment was linked to his Facebook account. Costa said it is one thing for someone to post a comment; it’s another to identify the comment with the school district. “This comment in no way reflects the school district or its views,” she said. “It’s an inappropriate comment, but it’s too early to say if it violates school district policy.” The school district was made aware of the comment when a concerned citizen e-mailed all seven board members, several school administrators and reporters from the Visalia Times-Delta. The e-mail addressed the comment and asked school officials if this was the position of the school district. “The gay and lesbian students in any school district deserve to be treated with dignity and respect by their teachers. How can a teacher that posts hate speech online be subjective when dealing with gay and lesbian students?” said Greg Murphy in his e-mail. “Would this be tolerated if he were talking about blacks or Mexicans in such a manner?” Costa said while the district does not have a policy on social media or such posts, they do have an anti-discrimination and hate speech code in which homosexuals would be included. Calls to Post seeking comment were not returned Friday afternoon. Because it’s a personnel matter, Costa said the district would be limiting the information released throughout the investigation.

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