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Joplin, MO Teacher's Bullying Solution: 'Don't Be Gay'; Suggests 13 More Kids Need to Die for Issue to Warrant Attention


Yet another teacher is under fire for anti-gay remarks made on Facebook.

JoplinhsJim Whitney, a teacher at Joplin High School in Missouri responded to former student Josh Gonzalez, who posted a Facebook link to a news article 15-year-old Jamie Hubley, who committed suicide after being bullied.

Said Whitney: "Moral of the story: Don't be gay."

When another commenter asked, "How many more kids have to kill themselves before everyone realizes that this is an actual issue?," Whitney responded, "11-13 ought to do it. Somewhere in that vicinity."

The comments were posted by Missourians for Marriage Equality on the group's Facebook page, where they encouraged people to contact the Joplin school board.

The Joplin Globe reports:

Whitney did not respond to requests for an interview but released a statement via email on Monday afternoon saying he was sorry the incident occurred.

“I do not condone bullying or harassment of any kind and I am very aware and saddened by the negative impact this type of behavior creates. I regret that the posts appeared on Facebook. They do not reflect my personal views and I apologize for any and all offenses caused by the comment.”

Whitney, however, did not respond to follow-up emails and telephone calls to explain how comments that do not reflect his views came from his Facebook account, nor has he been available for additional questions.

Board President Ashley Micklethwaite said the school board would likely discuss the remarks at a meeting yesterday.

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  1. I scoff at this man.

    They do not reflect my personal views and I apologize for any and all offenses caused by the comment.”

    Haha, is he a moron as well?

    Last time I checked, things you say personally usually constitute your 'personal feelings' on an issue.

    Posted by: Mark | Oct 26, 2011 9:54:26 AM

  2. At first I thought his comments might have been glib cynicism disgusted at the lack of response to these kids' needs, but reading that back and forth (and the "liberal" comment), it's clear that he was serious and descended into callous humor afterward. This goes beyond his personal feelings like that teacher who was willing to shoot her mouth off on Facebook but now has nothing to say.

    It's clear he cannot handle a serious situation in which his students may be in crisis.

    He should definitely be fired or at least suspended.

    Posted by: luminum | Oct 26, 2011 10:05:22 AM

  3. Outrageous! He should be fired immediately on the basis of the posts alone. Suicide and death of young people are obviously a joke to him and he should never be allowed to teach children again. Total scum!

    Posted by: Jack M | Oct 26, 2011 10:07:43 AM

  4. Just don't be gay. Like that's an option. Oh wait. These wingnuts actually think that it IS an option. My bad.

    About 11-13 ought to do it. Are you kidding me? And the school boards response is they would likely discuss it at the next meeting? How about deffinitely discuss it at the next meeting AND take appropriate disciplinary action while your at it. There's free speech, and then there's crossing a line. You be the judge.

    What kind of apology includes the phrase, "My posts on facebook do not reflect my views." WTF?

    Posted by: mytwocents | Oct 26, 2011 10:09:22 AM

  5. I'm less shocked by his opinions than I am his blatant stupidity in engaging with a student in this manner on Facebook. Don't these teachers receive training about how to conduct themselves on social media? He should be fired for utter incompetance, his dangerous and narrow-minded views being icing on the cake.

    Posted by: Gregoire | Oct 26, 2011 10:15:22 AM

  6. According to the linked article, the teacher is claiming his account was hacked (ala Anthony Weiner). My question is this: how often do Facebook or Twitter accounts actually get hacked? It just seems like a convienient excuse.

    Posted by: Kevin | Oct 26, 2011 10:20:30 AM

  7. They should fire him and never let him teach again.

    Posted by: FernLaPlante | Oct 26, 2011 10:22:35 AM

  8. Obviously, he is stupid as well as hateful. He made statements on a public forum that (allegedly) don't reflect his views and he didn't intend for them to be there? What, did they write themselves and magically link up with his name on Facebook?

    Moral of the story, Mr. Whitney: Don't use social media. Don't teach. Don't say things publicly unless you're man enough to own them.

    Posted by: Ernie | Oct 26, 2011 10:22:35 AM

  9. Of course part of providing a quality education to young people is encouraging them to kill themselves in droves. WTF?! How has our society gotten so callous and cruel?

    Posted by: David | Oct 26, 2011 10:28:49 AM

  10. People wonder why we have the problems in the nation we have today, who we allow to teach our young and what they are taught are two reasons.

    I went to high school in the early sixties and I don't remember any teachers like those we have been exposed to lately. Not all my teachers were concerned and caring, but most were. None of them I remember were as evil as this creep and Ms. Viki and several others who have exposed themselves publicly these past few weeks.

    What has gone wrong in our schools? We have not just incompetent teachers, but grossly ignorant teachers shaping the minds that will create our country's future.

    I think we have ignored our schools and school boards much too long. I think it's time that more sane people get interested in what's going on in the classrooms and start running for school boards and monitoring what is being passed off as teaching in today's classrooms. We need to start showing up at school board meetings.

    This guy is not an educator, he is a cancer that needs to be excised from contact with children. His corrosive influence should be removed from the public school system, now. We allow these sorts of opinions to be excused or pardoned at our own peril.

    Posted by: Bob R | Oct 26, 2011 10:30:11 AM

  11. I have friends who are teachers. They post things on facebook like anyone else.
    However, I don't believe any of them is stupid enough to (1) friend their students (2) make comments they KNOW wouldn't be acceptable for their students to see (3) Make those comments without being very careful to filter viewers so that only people who would "get it" would be able to see it.

    Posted by: JayKingOfGay | Oct 26, 2011 10:44:11 AM

  12. I agree with Gregoire. I live in Missouri. I'm not surprised by the point of view this idiot has - it's not uncommon for the ill-educated and What-Would-Jesus-Hate? crowd and there are plenty of them here, but what I am surprised that he'd engage in this written (and thus permanent) dialogue with a former student and think it wouldn't be pushed out quickly into the blogesphere.

    My guess, Jim Whitney was drunk and thought he was being clever. But I suspect good old Jim is going to have a bunch of bad days ahead of him. Joplin has been through enough, they don't need a reputation as a place for hate and that's what happens. There are a lot of wonderful people in this little city that's seen its share of devastation this year. But sadly, people like Jim Whitney give it an even worse name. I would suspect that Jim will end up working at the Wal-Mart.

    Posted by: Bart | Oct 26, 2011 10:45:49 AM

  13. Just... Wow.

    So the BEST case scenario here is he's an internet Troll as well as being a teacher. That he views teen suicide (for any reason) as just another source for creating mayhem and outrage still suggests a callousness toward students that ought to disqualify him from teaching.

    And nothing about those posts indicates those aren't his actual views.

    Posted by: Caliban | Oct 26, 2011 10:48:14 AM

  14. What we're digging up with these numerous incidents of teachers/students/faculty expressing such flagrantly homophobic sentiment, is essentially what about 80% of LGBT teens have had to deal with on an every day basis in school. Nothing is going on now than highlighting what has long been a very real problem----under the surface.

    And people wonder how kids could become so hateful. Look at their parents/teachers/role-models. They're hateful scum like this. It also shows people the crux of this fight for equality isn't about legal rights, but our right to live as equals. Really, bigots like this shoot themselves in the foot with these words. We need to set the example that it's NOT OK to be flagrantly anti-gay and teach in the classrooms. This man needs to be immediately fired.

    Posted by: Francis | Oct 26, 2011 10:48:30 AM

  15. AND under the rug it goes! Whoo hoo!

    Posted by: Marc C | Oct 26, 2011 10:53:50 AM

  16. "I'm sorry I got caught. No, wait, I'm sorry my keyboard typed those messages on my Facebook page. No wait, I'm sorry we caught a keyboard typing those messages on a Facebook page. See? Those aren't my thoughts!"

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | Oct 26, 2011 11:20:56 AM

  17. Readers: you can send a free fax (faxzero.com) to the Superintendent, Dr. CJ Huff at 417 625-5273 and express your anger and annoyance over Jim Whitney's anti-gay remarks. Let's utilize the web to voice our opinion no matter where we live. Individuals like Mr. Whitney should NOT be teaching young minds.

    Posted by: OS2Guy | Oct 26, 2011 11:25:02 AM

  18. What kind of functional halfwit goes around posting comments that don't reflect his views? This man is unfit to teach based on his sheer, blatant stupidity. His bigotry only makes the matter worse. But under our whimsical system of "local, parental control" of education, this is the kind of brainless creep teaching students in a large portion of the Land of the Free.

    Posted by: jomicur | Oct 26, 2011 11:38:00 AM

  19. Oh, Jimbo. And now, thanks to your meager web presence and the power of Google, whenever someone looks you up for the rest of sorry life, they'll get to see that you're a hateful, evil bigot. Ain't technology fun?

    Posted by: Paul | Oct 26, 2011 11:41:50 AM

  20. Thanx @OS2GUY- now we need to get phone numbers and email addresses of the Joplin school board and principal. This is more serious than Vicki-whatever- in New Jersey. This
    vile man actually said gay children NEED to die.

    He said "Kids need to die"- and they're letting this man teach? The Fitst Amendment allows you the right to speak whatever you wish- as long as it doesn't incite violence- but it doesn't guarantee you a job. Well he incited violence. Time for him to go- like the d-bag in Kentucky a year ago.

    Posted by: Scott | Oct 26, 2011 11:48:50 AM

  21. this aint "freedom of speech" - this is the reality that his specific views and opinions are now making for an unsafe learning environment for his students - gay or straight, conservative or liberal.

    yes. he compromised his job. yes. he should be fired.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Oct 26, 2011 12:22:20 PM

  22. And i am pretty sure he will not have any serious consequences for his actions. I'd actually be shocked if he gets fired.

    Posted by: shello | Oct 26, 2011 12:31:49 PM

  23. The Joplin Globe today (26th) doesn't have a follow up article from one on the 25th stating there would be a school board meeting on the morning of the 25th. Sounds like things are still 'being investigated'. Sound familiar folks?
    However to be fair, the ex-student with whom the conversation took place, states the comments do not ring true with the teacher's usual comments and that they have person he's conversed with and that they've both 'debated' things in the past. Unfortunately it would probably take a court order to have Facebook release the IP address of the offending computer. THAT would provide proof of the claim of hacking. (BTW it's a good thing to require a court order to get that information.)

    Posted by: Steve | Oct 26, 2011 12:39:56 PM

  24. The likelihood that someone hacked this guy's account so that they could engage in an online conversation like this one with somebody else is about a zillion to one. First, if somebody went to the trouble to hack this guy's account to get this teacher in hot water, unless they're the most subtle supervillain ever, they sure as heck would have gone a lot farther than the comments listed above.

    Like most anti-gay religious nuts, I'm betting this dude's a great big dishonest lying liar who lies.

    Posted by: bobbyjoe | Oct 26, 2011 1:30:42 PM

  25. wtf is with these people? how can this be your reaction to kids killing themselves over who they are and still be a teacher. people like this need to be unemployed and not working with children. any school district that puts up with this needs the administrators replaced.

    Posted by: walter | Oct 26, 2011 2:06:58 PM

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