A Vermont principal appears to be out of a job after her comments on a Facebook post about the Black Lives Matter movement was perceived as racist.
Windsor School Principal Tiffany Riley posted to her personal Facebook on Wednesday that she believes “Black Lives Matter, but I DO NOT agree with the coercive measures taken to get to this point across; some of which are falsified in attempt to prove a point.”
“While I want to get behind BLM, I do not think people should be made to feel they have to choose black race over human race,” she wrote, according to the school website.
“While I understand the urgency to feel compelled to advocate for black lives, what about our fellow law enforcement?” Riley questioned. “What about all others who advocate for and demand equity for all? Just because I don’t walk around with a BLM sign should not mean I am a racist.”
A group of Windsor alumni immediately slammed the message as “insanely tone-deaf,” The Valley News reports.
“The ignorance, prejudice, and lack of judgement in these statements are utter contrary to the values we espouse as a school board and district,” the Mount Ascutney School District Board wrote in a prepared statement.
The board called an emergency meeting on Friday and voted unanimously to put Riley on paid leave, which is expected to result in her termination, Superintendent David Baker told the News.
“They don’t see any way that she’s going to go forward as the principal of that building given those comments and that statement,” Baker said. “It’s clear that the community has lost faith in her ability to lead.”
The statement from the school board noted that Riley attempted to explain her remarks but only dug herself in deeper.
The initial comments “were followed later by a follow up Facebook post, which acknowledged no culpability, expressed no specific contrition or empathy, and showed no humility,” the board wrote. “Because of this glaring miscomprehension of the situation, we feel unanimously that Ms. Riley’s continued role as our school leader damages the school and its students.”
Riley did not respond to emails from the News for comment.
Baker told the news site he received about a dozen letters from community members, including parents, who were outraged over the post. Baker said he initially thought it was a misunderstanding.
“I felt like a post like that, with those kinds of racial overtones and what I define as pretty much outright racist in my values system, she would have never posted that,” Baker said.
Baker said he later confirmed it came from Riley.
The superintendent said the district plans to unveil new plans to address racism next week that will likely involve a task force of community leaders and alumni.
“We have to take this watershed moment and really start to make some serious plans going forward,” Baker said.