School Climate & Safety

Superintendent’s Retweet About Students’ Post-Election Emotions Stirs Controversy

By Evie Blad — November 14, 2016 1 min read
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A Maryland state lawmaker is pushing for a state ethics charge against the superintendent of the Baltimore County school district after he retweeted a call for schools to protect “non-white students” the day after the election.

As headlines began piling up around the country about harassment of students in schools and immigrant students’ fears of deportation following the election of Donald Trump, Superintendent Dallas Dance retweeted this advice from Joshua Starr, CEO of Phi Delta Kappa International and the former superintendent of the Montgomery County, Md., schools.

Parents and members of the public responded, calling the message “racist” and “propaganda.” The next day, Dance also tweeted this Education Week article about the school climate challenges educators faced the day after the election.

In response to the Starr retweet, Maryland Del. Pat McDonough said he is calling for an ethics charge against Dance, ABC affiliate WMAR reports. McDonough explained his intent in a statement.

Superintendent Dance implied that the President Elect is racist and guilty of all the slanderous attacks made by the national media. That is a partisan political position that does not allow for opposing viewpoints. By exercising bias against white students, Dance has violated his contract with Baltimore County and his trust with its citizens. "Would Superintendent Dance ask for special treatment for white students if Hillary Clinton had won the presidency after referring to some of their parents as "irredeemable deplorables?"

Dance shared this post last week in response to the controversy.

As the Superintendent of one of the largest most diverse school systems in our country, I always lead from an equity lens with an intense focus on all student populations and ensuring they feel welcome and supported. Education is not void of politics and during the last two years, our country has had one of the most divisive campaigns in modern history. Comments were made that disenfranchised several groups of students we serve in Baltimore County Public Schools. As our nation moves forward, it is our collective responsibility to make sure all students feel safe and know we are their advocates. As I continue leading our school system and as a member of several educational organizations, my continued focus is to work with local, state and national government representatives to move public education forward for all students." A photo posted by S Dallas Dance (@ddance06) on Nov 11, 2016 at 3:56am PST

Related reading on the election, Donald Trump, and school climate:

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.