Ohio Ed. Board President Apologizes for Post Comparing Hitler, Obama

By Andrew Ujifusa — February 12, 2013 1 min read
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cross-posted from Digital Education

by Sean Cavanagh

Ohio’s state board of education president has apologized for a post on her Facebook page that likened President Barack Obama’s gun-control positions to those of Adolf Hitler.

Debe Terhar has faced calls for her resignation amid controversy over the posting. On Monday, the state board of education rejected a motion calling for her to leave the post by a 10-6 vote.

The board president, who serves in an elected capacity, had a post on her Facebook page with a picture of the Nazi leader, alongside a message criticizing Obama’s recent efforts to support gun control, which followed the Newtown, Conn., school shootings, the Columbus Dispatch reported last month.

The posting included a quote attributed to Hitler: “Never forget what this tyrant said: ‘To conquer a nation, first disarm its citizens.’”

Terhar’s posting had drawn the scorn of the Ohio Democratic Party, which called for the board president to step down. “President Terhar’s invocation of Hitler is dangerous and should not be tolerated by Governor [John] Kasich and the rest of the state school board,” said Ohio Democratic party Chairman Chris Redfern in a statement.

At today’s board meeting, Terhar apologized, and indicated that she had re-posted the controversial comments from another source onto her personal Facebook page.

“I wish to make it absolutely clear that it was never my desire or intention to offend anyone at any time,” according to a copy of the statement provided to Education Week. “I fully realize the sensitivity of the issue at hand and I was wrong to re-post something that could ever be perceived as insensitive by anyone. I fully understand that as an elected official in the state, what I may say and do may find its way to the public domain and, therefore, must be measured and tempered. I sincerely apologize for my transgression to everyone who may have been offended by this incident.”

She added: “It is my firm belief that this error in judgment must not delay any of the valuable work of this board in ensuring the delivery of the best educational opportunities for Ohio’s 1.9 million children.”

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A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.