Chris Dodds, who has worked as a garage assistant supervisor with Columbus City Schools since 2004, reportedly posted the hateful message on a Facebook page for the 2017 Columbus Pride parade and festival last week. In the since-deleted post, Dodds said he hoped Friday’s festival, which has drawn more than 500,000 people in the past, “turns out like the Boston Marathon,” a pointed reference to the 2013 bombing that killed three people and injured several hundred others.
Take a look at a screenshot of the alleged post, courtesy of Change.org, below.
The post quickly prompted an online petition calling for Dodds’ dismissal. “This is completely unacceptable,” organizer Tom Neffs wrote, “and we need to take a stand and demand that this man not be allowed to spread this hate to the children in affiliation to our school system.” The petition has since drawn over 46,000 supporters as of Monday afternoon.
School officials addressed the news in a Facebook post Thursday.
Scott Varner, who is a spokesman for Columbus City Schools, told The Columbus Dispatch on Friday that the district “values and celebrates its diversity” and was “working with authorities to address this matter and [Dodds’] actions.”
“We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind,” Varner said. “We are currently working toward Mr. Dodds’ termination.”
In an email to HuffPost, Columbus City Schools Communications Manager Jacqueline D. Bryant confirmed that the school district was planning to terminate Dodds, and noted that more than 500 teachers, staff, students and family members joined the city’s Pride Parade on Saturday in the end.
On Saturday, school officials shared some jubilant images of those teachers and students marching in the parade on Facebook, and their praise seemed even more profound in the wake of the controversy.
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