W.Va. Teacher Suspended Over Racist Tweets Referencing 'Obama's Children'

Mary Durstein

Them Twitter fingers will get you into trouble real quick.

A social studies teacher at Huntington High School in West Virginia has been suspended with pay and was asked to delete her personal Twitter account after the discovery of several racially charged tweets shared via that account for more than a year, the Herald-Dispatch reports.


Jedd Flowers, the director of communications for Cabell County Schools, confirmed that the account "pigpen63" was the personal account of the teacher, Mary Durstein, and that Durstein agreed to delete the account in question.

School officials were notified about the offensive tweets over the weekend when Cabell County students and residents sent screenshots of the tweets.

One tweet dated to July 18, 2015, in which Durstein wrote "#cashinIn #WakeUpAmerica #viewcrew Who cares if we offend Muslims at least they keep their heads on tact. They're the enemy."

In one of the more recent tweets, from Jan. 5, 2017, Durstein responded to a tweet referencing the black suspects in a horrific kidnapping and attack on a disabled white teen in Chicago, writing, "this could have been Obama's children."


She also retweeted posts that condoned the deportation of Muslims and spoke badly of those who support Black Lives Matter.

“The tweets that you have seen—those are things that we do not adhere to,” Cabell County Superintendent Bill Smith said, according to the Herald-Dispatch. “We believe that all children are welcome here—all adults as well—in Cabell County schools. We want to make sure that is clear to our students and clear to the employees that work for us.


“We expect the same conduct on social media that we do in the classroom,” the superintendent added. “We don’t want to deny teachers the access they can have to the internet or Facebook and all the other stuff they want to have, but they need to be cognizant of who they are speaking to. And when what they say interferes with the educational process, it becomes a problem.”

Flowers commended the students who brought the tweets to the attention of officials, echoing the superintendent's emphasis on the importance of diversity.


“We want the message to our students to be that all kinds are welcome at Cabell County Schools. We embrace diversity. Inclusion is essential to everything that we do," Flowers said.

Flowers said that Durstein will meet with the superintendent to discuss her actions moving forward. The social studies teacher has reportedly already requested that she have representation at the meeting, although a date for it has not yet been set.


If any further action does take place, the action will have to be approved by the Cabell County Board of Education.

Flowers said that the school system is still looking into whether Durstein violated any of Cabell County Schools policies. According to the Herald-Dispatch, the school system does have an employee code book that reads, “All Cabell County professional employees shall maintain a safe and healthy environment, free from harassment, intimidation, bullying, substance abuse, and/or violence, and free from bias and discrimination," adding that employees shall “create a culture of caring through understanding and support” and “demonstrate responsible citizenship by maintaining a high standard of conduct, self-control, and moral/ethical behavior.”


Read more at the Herald-Dispatch

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