After coming under fire for being a member of a controversial anti-Obama Facebook group, a high school principal in New Hampshire is trying to make amends.
The Concord Monitor reports that Winnisquam Regional High School’s Ronna Cadarette was publicly outed by a teacher at her school.
Principal Ronna Cadarette’s public Facebook profile, which identified her as an administrator in the district, listed her as a member of one group.
The group’s title, which references public figures who died in 2009, is “Dear Lord, This Year You Took My Favorite Actor, Patrick Swazie (sic). You Took My Favorite Actress Farah (sic) Fawcett. You Took My Favorite Singer, Michael Jackson. I Just Wanted to Let You Know, My Favorite President is Barack Obama. Amen.”
The image next to the group’s name shows a picture of President Obama with a hammer and sickle and reads “Vote for Obama . . . Because Socialism Worked So Well for the USSR.”
Okay, so I (reluctantly and with great distaste) went on the group’s Facebook page. First dry heave happened when I saw this:
Oh, my God, I was shocked and saddened on so many levels, not the least of which is that two of my friends are members (but I figure two out of over 400 isn’t too bad). I am a strong supporter of free speech; as Adlai Stevenson opined, “I may not agree with what you say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it.” Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but come on, people, it needs to be expressed respectfully.
If I managed to put up with eight years of George W. Bush’s grammar No matter how you feel politically, every American needs to respect the office of the President of the United States.
Ahem … so pardon me while I get off my soapbox and return to the task at hand. Yeah, I decided to look and see what the males on the group did, just for shits and giggles (okay, I was really hoping to find a lawyer or business exec or a celebrity of some sort). No dice. What I found instead was a population based mostly south of the Mason-Dixon line (and a disturbing number listed Ted Nugent as their favorite musician–I wish I could say it’s because they know all the chords to “Cat Scratch Fever”, but I suspect his politics have more to do with it), a population whose male members include a sushi chef, a security guard, a supply deliveryman, a roofer, and a minister (????).
Is Ronna Cadarette being persecuted for being a woman?
I don’t think so … on the surface. However, when you think about it, she is being punished for an etiquette blunder made by nearly two million people. It is still moderately unusual for a public school to be helmed by a woman. As a school administrator, Cadarette knew she was under a microscopic lens. However, should she be treated differently than, say, a sushi chef or a roofer or a—gulp—minister for expressing her opinion?
There is an argument to be made, of course, for the fact that Cadarette had an obligation to her students to demonstrate high moral integrity. What could have been approached from an educational standpoint in terms of Freedom of Speech turned to dust, though, when Cadarette apologized in a written statement:
“Recent events have caused me great pause and reflection in my personal and professional roles. “I take full responsibility for the repercussions from my actions.”
“I wish to unequivocally state I do not support this organization, the content of its webpage, or its objectives. I apologize to anyone who was offended by my actions.”
I do not agree with Cadarette’s politics, and I certainly don’t agree with an educator being part of a group (even as a “joke”) that promotes hatred and breeds ignorance. That being said, though, I can’t help but wonder if and how how the situation would be approached differently were Ms. Cadarette a “Mr.”