You would think people would learn by now, but they haven’t. People are still posting things on their social media accounts that blow up in their faces. It’s become so common that many instances don’t even make the news.
But if you call the President and his wife “monkeys” and you work for a public school system, you can bet your face will be on the news. Just ask Trent Bennett, a science teacher at Malvern High in Arkansas.
Bennett has some opinions about the guy who was recently voted very popular by most of America. And, it’s completely fine for Bennett to have some opinions that are outside the mainstream. It’s still not okay to make racist comments on social media.
Bennett missed this particular class in common sense. Instead of keeping his job-threatening commentary to himself, he chose to refer to Michelle Obama as “America’s First Chimp” … and follow that up by referring to President Obama as a “spider monkey.”
There were other posts in which Bennett went on at some length about “monkeys,” while clearly referring to black Americans.
Parents were appalled. Some want their kids out of Bennett’s class. Others want him out of the school for good. School officials are conducting an official investigation into Bennett’s social media accounts, which have been described as “inappropriate” and “insensitive.”
Folks have said people with Bennett’s perspective don’t deserve the privilege of shaping young minds … all because he decided to go on a rant on social media. No one is asking if he’s a good science teacher. Nobody even wants to know. They just want him gone before he unleashes on their kids.
And, despite having nothing to do with the actual offending statements, the school is forced to take action, make statements and take a stance on an issue that had nothing to do with anything related to educating young people in Arkansas.
The NAACP has come out strongly against the comments, saying in an official statement: “There is no place in the education system for someone in a public position of authority that is willing to publicly make the comments that you alleged to have made … we will do everything legally possible with all available resources to see that you are terminated or at least (forced to) resign due to your actions…”
While no official decision has been made yet, many are already saying they don’t expect Bennett to return to school after the winter break. And, if that’s the case, he only has himself to blame.
David Milberg is a financial analyst in New York.