An intern principal in St. Paul, Minn., has been placed on leave after activists complained about allegedly offensive remarks he made on Facebook.
Brian White Jr., an intern principal at John A. Johnson Elementary School, was suspended by St. Paul School District for criticizing crossdressing and making various posts criticizing welfare and indicating support for traditional male and female gender roles. The comments were all made on White’s Facebook page, which is public.
“State Farm is making a killing from having black men wear dresses in their commercials. smh… [shaking my head],” White, who is black, said in one post.
In another post, he approvingly shared a lengthy diatribe that accuses women of destroying the black family by accepting welfare.
“1980s – GOVERNMENT OFFERED BLACK WOMAN MONEY (welfare programs along with ideas of not needing a man) TO REMOVE BLACKMAN FROM HOUSE, SO SHE CHOSE MONEY OVER MAN IN HOUSEHOLD TO RAISE OFFSPRING,” the shared post said. “2016 – BLACK WOMEN ON FACEBOOK GROUPS TRYING TO AVOID THE PAST DECISIONS THEY HAVE MADE TO DESTROY THE BLACK COMMUNITY.”
Other posts denounced the “effeminization” of black men and called on women to reject feminism in order to rebuild black families. Last summer, he shared a photo of a stove with the text “Ladies allow me 2 reintroduce myself… my name is Stove!”
According to City Pages, White’s Facebook activity attracted the attention of members of the Facebook group “Supporting St. Paul Students and Teachers,” which led to an argument hundreds of posts long.
Now, White also seems to have attracted the attention of his employers. On Thursday, he was placed on paid leave, pending a further investigation.
White is actually the second educator this month in St. Paul to land in hot water for social media posts.
In early March, high school teacher Theo Olson was suspended after he bashed the school’s disciplinary policies on Facebook.
“Since we now have no backup, no functional location to send kids who won’t quit gaming, setting up fights, selling drugs, whoring trains, or cyber bullying, we’re screwed, just designing our own classroom rules,” Olson said. His comments were denounced as racist by a regional Black Lives Matter group (though his posts never mentioned race at all), and the group threatened to disrupt classes at Olson’s high school. They backed down after a meeting with administrators, and Olson was subsequently suspended.
The new suspension comes in a period of generally high tensions in St. Paul schools. While teachers are under attack for their online statements, the district itself is under attack for its disciplinary policies. Several years ago, the school shifted to a less punitive disciplinary system that was intended to reduce the number of suspensions and expulsions for black, Hispanic, and American Indian students.
But critics, including St. Paul’s teachers union, say the policy has instead exposed teachers and students to a wave of violence. The district has had 44 reported assaults this school year, already more than the 41 assaults it had in the 2014-15 school year. Just last week, a substitute teacher was attacked by a student for taking his cell phone away.
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