Illinois teacher Mark Kaczmarek is in hot water after making a controversial tweet in response to the Women’s March on Washington last weekend. Kaczmarek is a social studies teacher at United Township High School, and he has been removed from the classroom while complaints regarding the so-called “sexist” tweet are being investigated by the school district.
As Fox 13 Now reports, Mark Kaczmarek tweeted the message that some students and parents found offensive on Saturday afternoon in the midst of the highly successful Women’s March. The tweet, which has since been deleted (as well as the rest of the Illinois teacher’s Twitter account), featured a photo of thousands of women marching in protest of Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol alongside a photo of a 1950s “housewife” holding a mixing bowl.
Mark Kaczmarek’s tweet also included the caption “#WomensMarch an impressive turnout. Lots of pink hats & stuff. Then they all went home to make dinner. Well done, ladies!” Despite deleting his Twitter, Kaczmarek couldn’t remove the controversial tweet from the Internet, and it has been preserved and shared by at least dozens of other social media users.
— Benjamin (@benthomaspayne) January 25, 2017
Almost immediately after his controversial tweet was noticed by his students and their parents, outrage against the “sexism” of Illinois teacher Mark Kaczmarek began in earnest. A Change.org petition was quickly created, demanding that the behavior of the social studies educator and part-time coach be “addressed” by the school district. According to Collin West, who created the petition against Mark Kaczmarek, last weekend’s Women’s March tweet wasn’t the first time that the Illinois teacher had made his offensive political and social views known.
“Our concern is that Mr. Kaczmarek’s personal views and biases are taught as part of his curriculum. There is no place for bigotry, racism or sexism in the classroom, yet he consistently teaches his hate-filled views in his class.”
At least one former student has come forward to substantiate the claims of the petition creator. Autumn Graham told the media that she had been a student of Illinois teacher Mark Kaczmarek, and she described him as “very conservative,” adding that the teacher shared inappropriate content with his classes.
“I had him as a teacher, he’s very conservative, puts his views out, a lot of political cartoons that weren’t really appropriate for the classroom.”
— Mr. wonderful (@SoccerStud81679) January 24, 2017
— Rosalie Hepki (@Solitairystorm) January 24, 2017
As of late Monday, the petition against Kaczmarek had nearly 900 signatures and was declared a success by its creators, as the Illinois teacher had been suspended from teaching as a result of the public outcry.
According to a statement released by the school district, the views expressed in the Illinois teacher’s tweet do not “reflect the views of the Board of Education.” The district added that no matter what is decided with regard to the teaching future of Mark Kaczmarek, its educators would “continue to respect students and faculty of all genders.”
As KWQC 6 reports, Illinois teacher Mark Kaczmarek has been employed at United Township High School since 2002. It is unclear whether or not the teacher who has been described as “socially conservative” has had past disciplinary issues. Superintendent Jay Morrow has refused to comment directly to the media with regard to the controversy, citing policy for dealing with personnel issues.
“It’s unacceptable to believe that women still deserve to be treated as house slaves and home wives and not the independent women we have worked to become. Women do not “belong in the kitchen”. We belong where everyone else belongs. We are all equal. It’s time to start viewing this as 2017 and not the 1920’s. – Chandra Linn”
“Freedom of speech is given to us. It shouldn’t be ripped away because someone’s feelings got hurt over a joke. – Dean Sappington“
UTHS teacher removed from classroom during investigation https://t.co/LXxl03mBvg
— Moline Dispatch (@Dispatch_Argus) January 24, 2017
While hundreds of parents, students, and petition supporters rallied against the Illinois teacher after his controversial and some say sexists Women’s March tweet, Mark Kaczmarek is not without his ardent supporters. A counter-petition has sprung up on Change.org in Kaczmarek’s defense, and as of Wednesday morning, it had over 1,300 signatures.
“There is absolutely no proof that Mark Kaczmarek has ever engaged in any kind of sexist, racist or even homophobic hate speeches in his classroom.
We will not stand idle by while a Teacher who has given over a decade of his life to the students he cares so much for is slandered and cyber bullied by the same people who claim to be against such actions.”
So far, it is unclear what the outcome of the school district’s investigation will be, but the case of Illinois teacher Mark Kaczmarek has gone viral and has now sparked a massive social media debate regarding the conflict between “free speech” and crossing social lines regarding sexism and intolerance.
[Featured Image by Change.org Petition]