Dance’s retweet draws at­ten­tion at meet­ing

Par­ents and stu­dents show sup­port for su­per­in­ten­dent

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By Liz Bowie liz.bowie@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/ lizbowie

Some par­ents and stu­dents fought back against crit­i­cism of Bal­ti­more County schools Su­per­in­ten­dent Dal­las Dance at the school board meet­ing Tues­day night, say­ing that he was right to show con­cern for stu­dents who might be fear­ful the day af­ter the elec­tion.

Dance came un­der crit­i­cism for a retweet he made on elec­tion night that asked ed­u­ca­tors to reach out to stu­dents who may have felt ma­ligned dur­ing the U.S. pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

The tweet from Josh Starr, a for­mer Mont­gomery County su­per­in­ten­dent, said: “Ed­u­ca­tors: to­mor­row pls show your mus­lim, black, latino, jewish, dis­abled, or just non-white St’s, that you love them and will pro­tect them!”

June Keat­ing, a 10th-grade stu­dent at Tow­son High School, said she was not a fan of Dance’s but that she felt com­pelled to speak up on his be­half. “The post he retweeted called for love and sup­port, not for ha­tred, dis­crim­i­na­tion or di­vi­sive­ness,” she said. She said as a white stu­dent, she did not feel it was racist against white stu­dents, as some of Dance’s crit­ics have con­tended.

Brooks Mo­rales, a Bal­ti­more County par­ent and Bal­ti­more City teacher, said there is a need to show com­pas­sion to chil­dren who are fear­ful.

“In the days af­ter the elec­tion, I have dried tears of kinder­garten stu­dents who are afraid that their fam­i­lies won’t be safe, and my re­sponse to them is the same that any of yours would be: You are safe at school,” she said.

Signs in the back of the school board meet­ing room said “Love for All Stu­dents” and “We Stand With Dal­las Dance.” On the other side were signs that read “Done with Dance” and “Re­move Dance.”

None of those who spoke at the meet­ing crit­i­cized Dance. The board did not com­ment.

The tweet was posted on a Bal­ti­more County par­ent’s Face­book page and drew fire from some Bal­ti­more County politi­cians. The de­bate con­tin­ued with par­ents, leg­is­la­tors and school board mem­bers con­tend­ing on Face­book.

Some par­ents have suggested that Dance should re­sign over the in­ci­dent or be fired. The ma­jor­ity of the board, how­ever, ap­pears un­con­cerned by his tweet.

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