Joplin, MO Teacher Who Said More Gay Kids Need to Die is Cleared, Claims Account Was Hacked

Joplin

Earlier in the week, I posted about Jim Whitney, a teacher at Joplin High School in Missouri, whose anti-gay remarks on Facebook were brought to light. Whitney was commenting on a former student's link to an article about gay teen bullying victim JAmie Hubley, who committed suicide earlier this month.

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 school now says Whitney has been cleared, and claims his Facebook was hacked:

"We've investigated and found no wrong-doing on the part of the teacher."

Joplin Superintendent Doctor CJ Huff tells News Talk KZRG complaints were made about things high school math teacher Jim Whitney allegedly posted on Facebook. But apparently Whitney's Facebook account was hacked.

"It's unfortunate when you're dealing with social media and dealing with technology and the potential for people to get on to other people's accounts and say things that shouldn't be said."

Huff says the Joplin School Board was made aware of the situation at Tuesday's board meeting and no action was taken.

Do you believe them?

If you thought your account was hacked, wouldn't you say so right from the start?

Whitney's original statement to the press didn't: "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.”

Comments

  1. Alex Parrish says

    Another student is quoted is stating that these remarks were out-of-character from this teacher. I’d be more inclined to believe it if there was a confirmation from FaceBook, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Let’s see what happens from here on and if there are other incidents involving this teacher.

  2. Michaelandfred says

    So somebody just happened to “hack” his Facebook account, happened to find one post about teen suicide, then “happened” to have a “reasonably adult” (if disgusting) back and forth with another poster…and then just left? So this will be the new defense. Someone hacked my Facebook account. Pathetic.

  3. Bob R says

    Sorry, doesn’t pass the smell test. Let’s see if there are any further developments. I’d like proof the account was hacked, a statement from Facebook or cyber-investigator.

  4. Keppler says

    It doesn’t really matter whether he’s lying or not, does it? In either case, public homophobia has been shown to have consequences, and that’s clearly a message this teacher has absorbed.

  5. Randy says

    I guess that will be the blanket excuse now, “my account was hacked”! If I was an intellenget teacher, I think that I could come up with something better. Although, a lot of teacher’s don’t have to think for themselves anymore, that have the state and federal government to tell them what to think, so originality is not in there job description. To bad in the 21st century, that we still have this backwoods mentality. So Sad!

  6. Zell says

    @Randy:

    Not sure where your assault on teachers is coming from, but the amount of spelling and grammatical mistakes in your post tells me that your animosity toward them is not a recent thing.

  7. Shullbit says

    Hacked, you say? So you received an email/text message from Facebook clearly stating “(name of machine)” logged in to your Facebook account at (time). If this was not authorized, check your email for instructions.” right? Right?

    I didn’t think so. The “hacked” defense doesn’t apply here.

  8. Dan E says

    I’d trust the people who know him to say whether it passes the smell test. I’ll say this though: I know people who inadvertantly leave themselves logged into facebook on shared work computers. My younger brother and friends of his often post things on each others’ accounts (though they are invariably funny, not offensive). I could easily imagine a student who found a teachers he or she didn’t like logged into their facebook account on a computer in school and doing this, especially given the headlines from teachers in Florida and NJ who did just this. If the people who know him say that this is completely out of character, I’d say that’s a reasonable explanation for what happened.

  9. David says

    Typical liberals. Whitney doesn’t receive his “innocent until proven guilty” rights? Nice double standard. How about you wait until the truth is known (if ever) before you pass your self-righteous judgement. You claim to promote equality for all, but deny it to him? Please explain that.

  10. says

    He should close his Facebook account immediately. It is his account and he is ultimately responsible for what is posted whether he posts it or not. If his security is so lax that it is hacked then he needs to close the account.

  11. I'm Layla Miller I Know Stuff says

    Pathologicals and Prejudice

    In The Anatomy of Prejudices Elizabeth Young-Bruehl looks at such “primary prejudices” as sexism, racism, anti-Semitism and homophobia. She argues that they fall into one or another combination of categories: obsessional, hysterical, or narcissistic.

    Obsessional (Malcontent) prejudice, by her definition, sees its objects as omnipresent conspirators or enemies set on one’s destruction, who therefore must be eliminated.

    Hysterical (Histrionic) prejudice interprets the hated individuals as “other, as inferior, and as sexually threatening”. Racism is the best example of hysterical prejudice.

    Narcissistic prejudice “cannot tolerate the idea that there exist people who are not like them”. She argues that homophobia alone fits all these categories, and this might help account for its persistence and prevalence.
    –Vannessa Baird, The No-Nonsense Guide to Sexual Diversity, pg 72

  12. The Milkman says

    David, the liberal/conservative meme doesn’t apply here, so perhaps you should drink a glass of water or something and sit down.

    Regardless of someone’s political persuasion, this excuse doesn’t pass the smell test.

    I call shenanigans.

  13. David says

    Nice dodge Milkman, but the fact remains it is the liberal mentality; screaming that this guy is homophobic without any proof. And had he been making remarks about breeders the silence would be deafening.
    Keep your glass of water and I am sitting down, honey.

  14. says

    Davd: we have proof. His postings to his Facebook account. Depsite his claim that he was “hacked”, Whitney is ultimately responsible for his owne Facebook page. He can make all the excuses he wants after the fact but the fact remains, his postings clearly expose him as a homophobic teacher. Again, if he wants to prevent this in the future he should close his Facebook account immediately. That would certainly but an end to any claims of “hacking” or “I didn’t do it…”

  15. OddBet says

    David, last time I checked, presumption of innocence was a legal principle, not a social one. It doesn’t stop anyone from deciding the case for themselves, only prevents the law from punishing an individual until proven guilty. But, I suppose misusing a phrase in an attempt to attack a group with whom you disagree, and trying so desperately to look smart, is more important to you.

  16. says

    If my Facebook account had been hacked and outrageously hostile comments casting doubt on my professional capabilities had been posted in my name I would have immediately expressed outrage that my account had been hacked–I wouldn’t have posted an apology for remarks I didn’t make. It is not some “liberal mentality” to “scream” that this guy is homophobic–the evidence–from postings in his name!–was that he was homophobic. Since the story is getting both more convoluted and illogical, Mr. Whitney needs to explain himself and what happened clearly. Given the postings, the burden is on him to clear his name, if he had nothing to do with this.

    And, when will teachers learn that 1) Facebook is public and reflects your professional life. 2) If you don’t guard your privacy there, you may set yourself up for trouble. 3) If you get in trouble, either apologize clearly or explain clearly how you’ve been wronged.

  17. Keith says

    I hope Zuckerberg has Facebook investigate, and then take their findings (which will refute the “hacking” claim) to the school board. This is clearly an attempt to sweep this under the carpet and hope it goes away. Let’s make certain it doesn’t.

  18. The Milkman says

    David, you’re the one who’s dodging. Right wingers constantly call us pedophiles and dangers to society. So clearly the tendency to come to conclusions based on the available evidence (even if it’s limited or biased) prior to the completion of a legal proceeding is a human condition rather than a liberal or conservative one. That was my point.

  19. Tiffany says

    I’m from Joplin, even had Mr. Whitney as a teacher years ago.. had no problem with him at the time.

    Having said that, I don’t buy the hacking excuse for a second. (To be fair he did mention hacking the very next morning on his wall from what I understand)

    He has a natural sarcastic side to him and I think this was likely a joke done in extremely poor taste. I can also confirm that he was talking about baseball within 10 to 15 minutes of these comments and he’s a huge baseball fan.

    Basically with Joplin being the way Joplin is…. and with it “only” being gay kids he was joking about, I doubt it was even really investigated seriously at all.

    Sad but true…. likely swept under the rug.

  20. Kevin_BGFH says

    Another press report (I’ll have to track it down) mentioned that at the same time this interchange was happening, the teacher was also conversing on Facebook with his other Facebook friends. So the hacker was simultaneously impersonating him to his friends?

  21. RandySF says

    He couldn’t be innocent. I don’t believe anything that doesn’t fit in with my preconceived notions of how reality works, so I refuse to believe that people involved in this situation know what they’re talking about and have taken the appropriate course of action.

    It’s not at all possible that this teacher left his account logged in on a school computer, allowing a student to post malicious things to his account. Students would never do something like that because they are all innocent children.

    This must be some vast conspiracy of the school board covering up for one of their fellow homophobes at their monthly homophobe meetings.

    As a homosexual I deserve solid proof that a teacher not in a school district anywhere near where I live did not say things that I disapprove of.

    INJUSTICE I SAY! INJUSTICE!

  22. David says

    Joplin voted for Missouri’s so-called Defense of Marriage amendment by a vote of 81%-19%. When you have anti-gay sentiment that prevalent, it is easy to see how a teacher would feel that he could post anything about gays and suffer no consequences.

    If someone had hacked his account, he would have said so in the very first sentence of his initial statement. He also would feel like his privacy had been violated and his identity stolen, so all of that would be prominent in his initial statement. But none of that is anywhere to be found. He certainly wouldn’t be apologizing for a statement that he never made.

    This is a transparent lie.

  23. David says

    ODDBET, I disagree with people who immediately presume guilt and start bashing someone without knowing all the facts. Comes from personal experience. If this guy turns out to be guilty, then I hope Karma plays out. Until then don’t prosecute him in the social media. It will end up like the case of mistaken identity when the waitress in Seattle ID’d the wrong guy for writing nasty comments to her on his receipt. A man in Texas paid the price for a witch hunt started with comments like the ones posted here.

  24. Laura says

    “My account was hacked”. Is that the new “the dog ate my homework”?

    I have a friend whose fb account was hacked so I know that it does happen. But if it happened to this teacher, what was he apologizing for and why didn’t he just say so from the start?

  25. cuffy123 says

    If you believe your account was hacked, that’s the FIRST thing you say, not I regret these comments were made, and don’t reflect my beliefs…or some such BS.

  26. Michael says

    Sorry so the ONLY thing the hacker did was make a homophobic comment and the teacher didn’t say anything about being hacked the first moment it was brought to his attention???

  27. Salient says

    I doubt his account was hacked. No chance. However, I would readily believe that he left his in-classroom computer logged into Facebook while away from the keyboard and a student used that computer to post the messages. THAT happens all the time.

    For whatever irritating reason nobody knows what “hacked” actually means and it’s used absurdly to mean “used my computer or my account to do something bad.”

    I remember one of the ag teachers at the high school where I taught left his computer logged in, someone used it to post FAG FAAAAAAAAG all over the place. (Their messages were less eloquent than those above, but eloquent homophobic high-schoolers exist too.)

    A couple kids noticed the posts that evening, and an overnight shitstorm happened. There wasn’t any statement to the press (too rural, no local newspaper), but there were furious parents and lots of carefully worded apologies for what had happened.

    I will hope, for the sake of the gay kids at this teacher’s school, that the same thing turns out to be true, that the teacher is not the author of these posts, and that the teacher uses this as an opportunity to express some support and sympathy to gay students.

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