Charleston Co. School District employee fired over ‘highly offensive’ social media comments

Updated: Jun. 15, 2020 at 6:57 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON County, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston County School District fired a school staff member, who had been placed on administrative leave over the weekend, over remarks made on social media.

The district called the Ladson Elementary interventionist’s comments “highly offensive and unacceptable."

A screengrab of the alleged comment read, in part: "Well I personally think if they don't like it here in America, give them a ticket back to Africa and see how they like living there!!!! I am so sick of all this BLM!!!"

BLM is an apparent reference to the group Black Lives Matter, which has staged numerous protests nationwide since the death last month of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody.

“Maybe if they were not criminals and breaking the law they wouldn’t have to come in contact with a cop,” the post continued. “If they want peace and equality then they need to learn to live here and live with our history.”

“It is the opposite, it is contrary, and it is completely in opposition to what we believe in Charleston County School District from a school perspective, from a district perspective, and absolutely from our leadership’s perspective," CCSD Elementary School Executive Director Michelle Simmons said.

The district released the following statement Monday:

We are extremely disappointed with the former employee’s offensive and unacceptable message, and we think that our swift action this morning conveys our commitment to the District’s values and principles.

CCSD does not condone these types of offensive messages and apologizes for any harm caused by this individual’s actions.

Over the weekend, the district said they would not tolerate “such disrespectful and derogatory statements.” They also said district leaders wanted to “ensure that everyone knows and understands that these views are not representative of the values and principles of CCSD.”

“Ladson Elementary is a diverse school, and we value that diversity," Simmons said. "We want assure you that when you send your students and your boys and girls, the adults whose charge they’re under will do everything in their power to make sure they’re cared for, they’re taught, they’re loved, and they’re respected at all costs.”

Simmons added that the district is looking to hire a diversity officer and director for the district.

“Another main thrust of the work will be to ensure that all 6,000 employees for Charleston County School District are trained in cultural competency," she said.

School Board Member Kevin Hollinshead represents the district in which this school falls.

“I’m going to be pushing for some things in the nature of African American history, Latino, and understanding the different backgrounds of people in America," Hollinshead said. "We have really turned a blind eye to things that really matter to our community as a whole. That’s why you have this big explosion right now throughout the country, because we kept pushing things under the rug.”

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