Superintendent's Retweet About Students' Post-Election Emotions Stirs Controversy
A Maryland state lawmaker is pushing for a state ethics charge against the superintendent of the Baltimore County school district after he retweeted a call for schools to protect "non-white students" the day after the election.
As headlines began piling up around the country about harassment of students in schools and immigrant students' fears of deportation following the election of Donald Trump, Superintendent Dallas Dance retweeted this advice from Joshua Starr, CEO of Phi Delta Kappa International and the former superintendent of the Montgomery County, Md., schools.
Educators: tomorrow pls show your muslim, black, latino, jewish, disabled, or just non-white St's, that you love them and will protect them!-- Josh Starr (@JoshuaPStarr) November 9, 2016
Parents and members of the public responded, calling the message "racist" and "propaganda." The next day, Dance also tweeted this Education Week article about the school climate challenges educators faced the day after the election.
In response to the Starr retweet, Maryland Del. Pat McDonough said he is calling for an ethics charge against Dance, ABC affiliate WMAR reports. McDonough explained his intent in a statement.
"Superintendent Dance implied that the President Elect is racist and guilty of all the slanderous attacks made by the national media. That is a partisan political position that does not allow for opposing viewpoints. By exercising bias against white students, Dance has violated his contract with Baltimore County and his trust with its citizens. "Would Superintendent Dance ask for special treatment for white students if Hillary Clinton had won the presidency after referring to some of their parents as "irredeemable deplorables?"
Dance shared this post last week in response to the controversy.
"As the Superintendent of one of the largest most diverse school systems in our country, I always lead from an equity lens with an intense focus on all student populations and ensuring they feel welcome and supported. Education is not void of politics and during the last two years, our country has had one of the most divisive campaigns in modern history. Comments were made that disenfranchised several groups of students we serve in Baltimore County Public Schools. As our nation moves forward, it is our collective responsibility to make sure all students feel safe and know we are their advocates. As I continue leading our school system and as a member of several educational organizations, my continued focus is to work with local, state and national government representatives to move public education forward for all students."
Related reading on the election, Donald Trump, and school climate:
- The Election Is Over, But for Teachers, Hard Conversations Are Just Beginning
- For Teachers, Election 2016 Is a Fraught Subject
- Election's Intolerant Tone Stokes Fears for Latino Students
- After Election, Students Express a Mix of Emotions
- Some Free Advice for Melania Trump on Fighting Cyberbullying