At a time when the U.S. is witnessing by a massive movement against the racial attacks on African Americans, a Texas school board member triggered a new controversy, after posting a series of racist posts on his Facebook account. Considering the seriousness and the impact of these posts on society, he was asked to resign, but he refused to budge.
The board member of Ector County Independent School District (ECISD), Doyle Woodall had shared a picture of a noose that urged people to "make America great again" by making "evil people fear punishment."
As per recent reports, Woodall also proposed spilling "a few gallons of bacon grease" on areas where the Muslim-Americans have gathered to pray. The post also included an anti-abortion meme that used the phrase "Jews aren't actually people" to compare Jews killed during the holocaust to aborted fetuses.
The racial attacks are not just limited to African Americans
After the death of Minnesota resident George Floyd, first, the U.S. and then several other countries started the human rights movement against injustice and inequality. In the midst of all these, Woodall's bizarre posts just showed how big the issue is in the country and that it is not limited to the black Americans.
It was reported that Woodall refused to resign from the school board, a position which he has held for 11 years. A petition for his removal was a few hundred signatures short of its goal of 5,000 as of Tuesday night. As per ECISD Attorney Mike Atkins, regardless of the petition and public outcry over the racist posts, there may be a legal recourse to remove Woodall unless he commits a felony or is voted out.
Atkins told the Odessa American that there is no legal connection with the school board and members exercising the First Amendment right to express their opinions. As per him, "Popular opinion does not automatically lead to being removed from office. If people don't like it, then the remedy is at the ballot box at the end of the day."
Racist posts by Woodall
President of the Ector County chapter of the Texas State Teachers Association, Javier Ruiz said in a statement that Woodall's history of intolerant and racist Facebook posts meant that he must resign. He also highlighted the controversial post featuring the image of a noose as particularly offensive, calling it "a symbol that people of color loathe, and so should every fair-minded American."
There are other posts shared by Woodall which include a series of evidence-free conspiracy theories, such as the debunked claim that former U.S. President Barack Obama is secretly a Muslim, and Bill Gates created the Coronavirus in order to sell a vaccine at some later date.
Even though initially Woodall defended his posts, later he issued an apology for such behavior on Tuesday, June 9. While he is still refusing to resign, Woodall insisted that being confronted during an interview with a Jewish reporter and meeting with a black former Texas education official had made him a "better man."
He said, "Today, I understand why my posts were offensive. I will remove them from my page. I have a lot to learn about cultural differences and I will dedicate a great deal of time learning by attending cultural awareness and sensitivity training."
ECISD Superintendent Dr. Scott Muri and ECISD Board of Trustees President Dr. Donna Smith released a joint statement where they mentioned that they noticed several similar posts made by Woodall and found them offensive and disrespectful. The statement also added that "they do not represent the views of Ector County ISD. We embrace and serve a diverse staff and student body as well as a diverse community."