Education

Did DougCo Union Compare Teacher to Penis and Douchebag on Twitter?


The tweet — in which a teacher is compared to a penis prior to the use of the hashtag #douchebag — seems like the kind of thing a pissed-off student might send.

But it went out into cyberspace from the (now-deleted) Twitter account of a teachers union, the Douglas County Federation of Teachers.

Execs from the Douglas County School District Board of Educators are mighty unhappy about the message, even though the union claims that its Twitter account was hacked.

In a letter on view below, they demand that "both the Douglas County and American Federation of Teachers...terminate the AFT’s local representatives for this act of unprofessionalism and failure of leadership."


The missive also rejects the hacking claim as an example of "the 'Weiner defense.'"

That's a reference to former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, who initially suggested that hackers might have been responsible for sexts of his junk that went public.

As reported by Fox31, the meeting in question took place on January 12 — and the offending message was sent from the DCFT Twitter account.

Here's a screen capture shared in the aforementioned letter, signed by Board of Educators president Meghann Silverthorn and vice president Judith Reynolds.


"It is incomprehensible and inexcusable to us that the DCFT, which claims to be 'committed to supporting DCSD teachers and staff,' used an official social media platform to engage in this despicable attack on a dedicated classroom teacher," an excerpt from the letter states. "As you have suggested many times, teachers are the heart and soul of education and what we do for students. They do not deserve to be singled out and subjected to vicious smears on social media. Why, indeed, would any teacher wish to join the DCFT at this point, when its staffers might choose at any time to make him or her the latest target of an appalling public invective?"

In response, the DCFT issued a statement that reads in part: "“DCF Twitter was hacked. We couldn’t see the tweet that was sent because it was under media (not visible to us). As soon as the tweet was brought to our attention, we deactivated the account."

Silverthorn and company don't buy that explanation. They point out that other tweets from around that same time period reference things that were happening in the meeting, albeit without the colorful language.

Here's an example also shared in the letter.


Another section of the letter takes on the topic of potential hacking:
The DCFT has asserted the “Weiner defense” against their behavior, which is that they are the “victim” of a Twitter account hack. If you unquestioningly accept this explanation, then the perception will be reinforced that the DCFT and the AFT care little about teachers and a lot about shielding their own agents from outrage that the public will rightly express. In the event a credible investigation is conducted, we expect you will make public the results of the investigation — clearly demonstrating the account was hacked and that you will file with the appropriate law enforcement officials so that the hackers can be brought to justice. Alternatively, if this is a case of your affiliate’s officers attacking a teacher, we expect you will take swift action to remove the local leadership that created a culture resulting in this attack, one of the most egregious we have ever seen.
At this writing, the Douglas County Federation of Teachers website makes no reference to the Twitter dust-up or potential repercussions from it.

And there's also been no comment from Anthony Weiner.

Below, see the Fox31 piece about the matter, followed by the complete school board letter.

Douglas County School Board Tweet Letter



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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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