A charter school principal in Florida has come under fire for her controversial posts to Facebook, which some say are filled with racist implications.
According to Action News Jax, Kimberly Stidham, a principal at Duval Charter School at Baymeadows is on leave and under investigation after concerned parents brought some of her Facebook posts to the attention of Charter Schools USA.
The posts range from anti-black memes to a defense of Unite the Right leader Jason Kessler and one post in particular, quotes the lyrics of a Toby Keith song slammed in 2008 as a “pro-lynching anthem.”
Stidham posted the lyrics of Keith’s Beer for My Horses, saying “Take all the rope in Texas, find a tall oak tree, round up all of them bad boys, hang them high in the street for all the people to see that.”
While Keith has denied any association to lynching or racism in the song’s lyrics, the parents of students at Duval Charter School disagree.
“Everything I saw kind of had an anti-black sentiment to it,” one parent said in response to the posts. “It definitely left me thinking, that um, if not hatred, that she at least had some severe prejudice against minorities, against black people.”
A spokesperson for Duval Charter School at Baymeadows told Action News Jax:
“Duval Charter School at Baymeadows values all people regardless of their race, gender, religious or political views. While we do not restrict our employees from their right to free speech when operating privately, we do not condone any expressions that incite violence, racism or hate. While we are not at liberty to discuss any specific personnel matters, we can say that we conduct a thorough investigation and take all appropriate actions.”
One mother was quoted saying that although the parents first took the issue to the school, she felt that the administration was “just going to brush it under the rug.”
"The feeling that I got from them was that they maybe shared the same views, or didn’t really care,” said the parent.”
Stidham however, released the following statement to Action News Jax:
“I am absolutely devastated that my personal political views were perceived to be racist in any way. I am a firm believer in equality, justice and respect for all individuals and I recognize now that some of my posts could have been misunderstood. I appreciate the fact that those who were offended brought this to my attention so that I could rectify the situation. I encourage anyone who has any concerns about this to come to me directly so that we can discuss it further.”
This isn’t the first time an educational professional has been called out for racist postings online, and it is evident in today’s political climate that the youth of today need a safe, space at school – away from the harsh reality of the outside world. Racism and discrimination have no place in a classroom, or online.
A petition has been started online to removed Stidham from the school.
Kimberly Stidham of Duval Charter School Jacksonville, FL contact info from website: firstname.lastname@example.org 904-638-7947 https://t.co/tO4w4XoOrq— Graye (@graye63) August 25, 2017
To view Stidham’s Facebook posts, visit Action News Jax.