One Joplin area teacher is breathing a sigh of relief today after his scandalous Facebook comments in which he callously remarked that gay suicides are the fault of the victim's, responding to a former student's post about 15-year old Jamie Hubley's bullying-related suicide by saying "Moral of the story: don't be gay."
Even more shockingly, when the question was rhetorically asked "How many more kids have to kill themselves before everyone realizes that this is an actual issue?" Whitney responded, "11-13 ought to do it. Somewhere in that vicinity."
Why is he relieved? Because, of course, the Joplin School District is refusing to take action against him, insisting that his Facebook was hacked.
Superintendent C.J. Huff said that Jim Whitney’s Facebook account was compromised and that there were no findings that would indicate wrongdoing by Whitney.
The board of education discussed the matter and was given a report following an investigation into the incident during a closed session at Tuesday night’s meetingDuring my week-long visit in Joplin this summer, I discovered a Midwestern town filled with friendly, loving people. Though Joplin has its quirks and problems, I found the majority of the city to be welcoming and tolerant. When I stopped to buy my then-fiance a flower at a florist and corrected the clerk on the gender of my intended, she apologized politely and then congratulated me on my engagement.
Not only is the local populace warm and caring, a community which has come together in the aftermath of May's devastating tornado, but the LGBT community is a thriving reality in Joplin. From the local gay bar (two-for-one drinks on Monday and Tuesday!! Even shots!) to the small music scene, queer representation is both visible and appreciated. The school district's decision to not pursue this matter both with transparency and sensitivity is a grave disservice to this fantastic city.
When Anthony Weiner Tweeted photos of his manparts to a ladyfriend, he claimed that his Twitter was hacked, then admitted to having been the perpetrator of the sex scandal. How is it that this schoolteacher, who appears gleeful at the idea of gay youth killing themselves, can keep his job by pleading "hacked!" in a closed meeting with administrators?