An assistant high school principal in Maine has twice apologized for authoring a statement on his personal Facebook page that states, “The only terrorists we need to fear are domestic white ‘Christian’ men with easy access to guns.”
The post also included a recommendation to “vote Bernie.”
The controversial Facebook message apparently was posted one day after the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado.
Complaints poured into the school district about the now-deleted post written by Camden Hills Regional High School assistant principal Piet Lammert, prompting the superintendent to describe the Facebook post as offensive to many people and inappropriate.
Superintendent Maria Libby, however, indicated that Lammert won’t be fired from his position in the Rockport high school even though some people in the community are still upset, and that he has an otherwise “stellar reputation in our district” and is “well loved by students and parents.”
— Daniel Hernandez (@Danter98) December 9, 2015
Libby noted that Lammert has acknowledged he made a mistake.
“I know Piet and he’s someone who genuinely accepts all people. The post does not reflect who he is as a person,” the superintendent explained to WGME TV in Portland.
She did tell the Bangor Daily News that she took “appropriate action” but the way it was handled is confidential “because it is a personnel issue.”
In his initial Facebook apology on November 29, Lammert wrote, in part, that “I mistakenly left my setting open to ‘Public’ and in doing so made a post that offended some members of our community and beyond. I deeply regret doing so, take full responsibility, and hope that those I offended will accept my apology.”
On December 4, two days after the San Bernardino terrorist attack, Lammert wrote a six-paragraph follow-up apology that offered further details about his thought process.
“With true humility, I write to apologize for the offensive statement that I recently posted on Facebook. I did not intend this statement literally when I wrote it–it was an exaggeration–but soon after realized that it was unintentionally hurtful, offensive, and divisive at a time when more than ever we need compassion and understanding… Had I simply written what I meant, the post would have reflected my urgent distress at the epidemic of mass violence in our country, which more recent events have proven to span all social groups. Ironically, in my effort to point out that we run the risk of simplifying the problem by singling out a particular ethnic group, I did exactly that to the group to which I belong. It was careless and rash…”
Facebook users left many supportive comments underneath Lammert’s apologies.
Lammert joined the high school faculty in 1999 and was appointed assistant principal in 2007. He earned a B.A. in psychology from the University of Maine followed by an M.A. in counseling psychology from Boston College, according to his bio page.
Separately, the assistant principal’s Facebook page contains a link to a December 2012 article from liberal website Think Progress about the National Rifle Association that among other things claimed that gun ownership was on a sharp decline in the U.S.
The assertion may have been premature because more than 100 million guns have been sold in the U.S. during President Obama’s term in office, suggesting that White House gun control rhetoric has had the reverse effect. Moreover, FBI background checks for gun sales on Good Friday 2015 reportedly set a new record. The president and his advisors reportedly are developing new gun control regulations via executive order that would not need approval by Congress.
Do you think that the assistant principal would still be employed if he had disparaged another group based on race or religion?
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