A principal at a charter school in Florida is in hot water with parents after making several Facebook posts parents believe were racially insensitive.
Kimberly Stidham of Duval Charter School in Duval County is under investigation by Charter Schools USA for the Facebook post, reported Action News Jax.
In one post in particular, Stidham copied the lyrics to the song “Beer For My Horses” by Toby Keith. The lyrics Stidham posted included the line: “Take all of 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.”
One parent, whose identity remains anonymous, found the post to be extremely troubling, given the racist connotation of lynching in America.
“She’s a principal; she should know better and she should do better," a Duval Charter parent told Action News Jax. "I’m speaking out, because I'm hoping to bring awareness to other parents. Not just minority parents, but parents who have their child there in general."
The parent also went on to say other posts and shares made by Stidham have given her an overall uneasy feeling.
"Everything I saw kind of had an anti-Black sentiment to it," the parent added. "It definitely left me thinking, that um, if not hatred, that she at least had some severe prejudice against minorities, against Black people.”
When the parent brought her concerns to the school administration, she said the issue was not properly handled.
"The feeling that I got from them was that they maybe shared the same views, or didn’t really care. They were just going to brush it under the rug,” she told Action News Jax.
As a result of the allegations of racism, both principal Stidham and Charter Schools USA released a statement.
“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,” Kim Stidham, principal of Duval Charter Schools at Baymeadows, wrote in a statement to Action News.
Charter Schools USA said they do not condone messages of racism or bigotry by school officials.
“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,” Colleen Reynolds, spokesperson for Duval Charter School at Baymeadows, said in a statement.
(Photo: CBS 47 Action News Jax)