O’FALLON, Mo. – Former and current students are calling for the firing of a Fort Zumwalt North High School employee after a controversial tweet that some are calling homophobic.
The tweet was sent at the beginning of October. It said “Never should have allowed gay marriage to start with. Marriage is between a man and woman, plain and simple.” Calls for the employee’s firing has not stopped since then.
Monday night, during Fort Zumwalt School District’s first Board of Education meeting since the tweet, current and former students, along with a parent came to show their support for the LGBTQ community. Some people came with pride flags to make their statement known.
The district responded to the tweet on October 9. The statement said in part, “The post was the personal opinion of the individual, who does not speak on behalf of any Fort Zumwalt school or on behalf of the Fort Zumwalt School District.” But, some say that is not enough as the now-deleted tweet continues to draw criticism and more than 2,000 people have signed on an online petition calling for the employee to be fired.
“If you find out that your coach doesn’t think that you should be allowed to get married or have the same rights as you, that sends a really bad message not only to you, but to the rest of the team as well,” former FZSD student and Find the Light Executive Director Justin Schneider said.
The organization, Find the Light, which advocates for student’s mental health, submitted a public comment to the board to read during its Monday night meeting. But, they did not read it and said there had been a lot of comments regarding the same situation.
“We’ve received many many comments and we hear what you’re saying but for the sake of time we’re going to move on,” one board member said after reading one submitted statement, which did not discuss the tweet.
The group shared the statement it submitted to the board with FOX 2/KPLR. It said in part, “Your students are uniting against homophobia in the district. We hope that the board and superintendent will take the time to hear their concerns and show them that they are valued and important members of our community.”
The employee deleted the first tweet shortly after sending it, and then tweeted an apology.
“I made a post earlier that was apparently insensitive to many and hurtful. We all make mistakes and mine was public. I apologize to anyone that was offended. In reading responses I am deeply regretful of hurting anyone’s feelings,” the employee’s apology said on Twitter.
Some say that is still not enough and want him out of his current position with the district.
“I would like to see him fired, I don’t think that those kinds of opinions and those kinds of views have any place in education, especially when you are a coach,” Schneider said.