Ohio State Board Of Education President Survives Vote, Keeps Job After Controversial Facebook Post
For more than two hours Monday, the Ohio State Board of Education debated, sometimes with heated exchanges, whether board president Debe Terhar should keep her post.
In the end, the board voted 10 to 6 in favor of her keeping the post.
Terhar came under fire following a controversial Facebook post she made last month.
Terhar posted a link to a photograph of Adolf Hitler with a quote that read "Never forget what this tyrant said, 'To conquer a nation, first disarm its citizens,'"
It was a widely circulated photo by gun rights supporters in wake of President Obama's call for more gun control.
At first, Terhar chose to remain quiet about it, but on Monday, she addressed the public.
“I sincerely apologize for my transgression to everyone who may have been offended,” Terhar said. “To reiterate, it was never my desire nor was it ever my intention to offend anyone.”
Terhar called the Facebook posting an “error in judgement” and has since deleted her account.
Gov. John Kasich said last week that he was standing by Terhar.
“She didn’t apologize to me, she apologized to the board,” Kasich said. “What she said was just a terrible mistake and she apologized for it.”
Past Board President Deborah Cain called for Terhar’s resignation.
“Mrs. Terhar did not come forth with a sincere and swift apology immediately after the situation occurred,” Cain said.
Member Ann Jacobs also supporter Terhar’s removal. She said the Hitler and Obama comparison was “unacceptable behavior” and “embarrassed the board of education.”
Member Michael Collins said he had received more emails about the Facebook posting than the total number of emails he received the previous five years.
Some Republican members argued that the situation was overblown.
Board Member Jeffrey Hardin said the link of Obama to Hitler or Joseph Stalin was appropriate.
“I won't say that he is them, but we're supposed to study history so we don't repeat mistakes,” Hardin said.
Terhar said she had “the utmost respect for the office of the President of the United States” but did not mention Obama by name.
Member C Todd Jones accused the state Democratic Party of using the situation for fundraising purposes.
In response, spokesman Jerid Kurtz he wasn’t sure how money had been raised, but that over 150,000 letters had been sent to Kasich’s office condemning Terhar.
Kurtz later offered his own apology for a tweet on Sunday that some believed linked Kasich to the Chardon school shooting in 2012.
“There was an isolated tweet that perhaps could have been taken out of context, and it was, as soon as it was posted, I removed it,” Kurtz said.
Social media expert Kelley Bell said that there was a lesson in both situations for all politicians.
“Social media is an important tool, and it’s here to stay,” Bell said. “You just can’t put anything out there. Once you put something out there, it’s there forever.”
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February 9, 2013 - Ohio Ed Board To Talk Social Media After Criticism
January 23, 2013 - Education Official Claims Hitler Picture On Facebook Was To Encourage Historical Reflection