Discrimination | Education | News | West Virginia

Local Paper Publishes Racist, Homophobic Letter After Lesbian Teacher's Dismissal in West Virginia: VIDEO

Wv_letter

Last week, the Lincoln County Board of Education voted to fire lesbian teacher Kelli Burns after three separate hearings, the Lincoln Journal reports:

In a series of claims regarding the situation, Burns told The Lincoln Journal, late last week, that she was comfortable exposing what she termed the "completely inexcusable trashing” of her sexuality and her "so-called lifestyle” by the school system. She further alleged that students had been forced to write submissions saying that she had "tried to turn them gay.” Burns expressed her overall dismay regarding the process in her comments to The Lincoln Journal. "What has this process taught our youngsters? Every day they stand and recite an anti-bullying pledge right after the Pledge of Allegiance. And then they watch for months one of their favorite and most successful teachers be bullied by some staff and administration. The fact is some students actually went on record to teachers and administrators, saying that they were tired of watching me be trashed and slandered and bullied in the classroom. It was brave of them and I admire them for that,” Burns said late last week.

The Journal itself is now coming under fire for publishing a letter it received regarding Burns' dismissal.

Said the letter, which was transcribed from a voicemail the paper received:

"We were really glad to hear that School Board is getting rid of them queers. The next thing is we need to get rid of all the n****rs, the spics, the kikes and the wops....You know even them Catholics, they are wrong as baby eaters...We need to clear them people out and have good, white, God fearing Christians and everybody else needs to be put to death for their abominations....We'll keep Lincoln County white and right. Thank you."

The Lincoln Journal posted a lengthy interview with Burns online about the letter and the dismissal.

Watch the interview, and a news report on the printing of the letter, AFTER THE JUMP...

Burns

Here's the Lincoln Journal speaking with fired teacher Kelli Burns:

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Comments

  1. I'm sorry, but that letter (voicemail) really does scan as satire. Of course, Poe's Law being what it is, one can never be sure.

    Posted by: Rich F. | Mar 21, 2013 10:45:04 PM


  2. Did you see the video of that managing editor, Shame O'Catholic? Sorry, but he's serviced a lot of truck stops or confessional booths, mark my words.

    Posted by: will b | Mar 21, 2013 10:49:37 PM


  3. God bless America.

    Posted by: Tre | Mar 22, 2013 1:10:49 AM


  4. Interesting that Towleroad edited out the n word but kept all the other offcnsive words in the text. It would seem Towleroad has a problem with understanding the true meaning of "equal".

    Posted by: Icebloo | Mar 22, 2013 1:56:20 AM


  5. Let's not trash West Virginia. But go ahead with Lincoln County. That's as far back in the sticks as you can get, and I doubt anyone lives there who's capable of satire. I'd bet money the letter is someone's straight up opinion.

    Posted by: John Conolley | Mar 22, 2013 2:19:37 AM


  6. Oh, don't fool yourselves...this "anonymous" caller really does feel that way. I just wonder why, those who feel so strongly about something, are so hesitant to sign their names? It deflates their credibility, if they had any in the first place...I guess they're too dumb to notice.

    Posted by: millerbeach | Mar 22, 2013 5:13:50 AM


  7. Sorry, this story doesn't pass the smell test. Red flags everywhere. And the VM/letter sounds farcically fake,to me.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Mar 22, 2013 7:25:30 AM


  8. Looks like Andy doesn't think Latinos and Jews are as worthy of protection as blacks...

    Posted by: Jack | Mar 22, 2013 7:54:22 AM


  9. Woah...but not surprising. Has anybody had conversations with anybody that lives in the south or West VA? I have.
    I spoke to a client on the phone once, he asked my ethnicity. Told him I was part Mexican/Jew. He actually went off on a racist rant, laughing afterward like it was a joke. Had to give that guy over to a white co-worker before I said something that would get me in trouble. So this story, those comments are not satire...they are the simple archaic thoughts that prevail in the south.

    Posted by: Isaac | Mar 22, 2013 8:37:14 AM


  10. I think everybody needs protection. I wouldn't single out any one particular ethnicity, race or religion. I would go as far as to say the disabled [physical and mental], elderly, very young, are deserving of special above and beyond 'protection' under the law, from abuse. I would add females, since females are in on average less physically strong vs on average males, and are less biologically prone to be aggressive. However, under our laws and culture, both genders are supposed to be considered equal [in reality, due to special status and benchmarks [quotas] in our society for females, they are in fact more than equal in the eyes of the law and culture, vs males] so one gender shouldn't receive more than equal status.

    Latinos? Why special protection? From who? And what exactly is a 'Latino' or 'Hispanic'? Many 'Latinos' are white European descent, no different than Italians, French, Swedish, Irish, etc.,

    Jews? Special protection from who? And Jews are oppressed in America? Really?

    Some people need to get out of their ghetto. The geographical and mental kinds of ghetto. It's OK to stray off the plantation.

    You want protection? Learn how to fight, defend yourself, use a weapon to defend yourself. Get a firearm if it's legal where you live. They don't call them the great equalizers for nothing.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Mar 22, 2013 8:43:18 AM


  11. So may fake hate crimes occur, it's become a joke. And unfortunately, may post lies on TR, too. These things will ultimately come back to bite the 'oppressed' communities in the arse.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Mar 22, 2013 8:51:32 AM


  12. Obama was right ;

    "Clinging to your god and guns."

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Mar 22, 2013 9:02:33 AM


  13. @ JackFknTwist,

    MANY Americans are Agnostic or Atheist, such as myself, and especially outside of the south. Has belief and worship of God, and being religious, been outlawed where you live?

    Where does your fear of firearms come from? Are you Irish? If so, how did Ireland gain it's independence from Britain? Irish patriots used GUNS and violence. What if they didn't have any firearms to fight their war for independence?

    The United States is a very large and mostly sparsely populated country, even with 315 million people. I understand this is difficult for western Europeans to appreciate. Firearms are a part of the culture in many parts of the U.S. for legitimate reasons, never mind the fact we have a constitutional right to own them

    Posted by: ratbastard | Mar 22, 2013 9:39:13 AM


  14. While I do believe that the haterade against all of these communities exists in West Virginia, I vote for irony here; that letter is waaaaaaay too over the top.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Mar 22, 2013 9:53:18 AM


  15. I was born and raised very near Lincoln County, WV. I assure you, the caller was deadly serious. Lincoln County is just about as backward as one can get, full of racist, ignorant rednecks. Vote buying still occurs there. But Lincoln County is also run by a few families, and if Kelli did anything to get on the bad side of some of the Lincoln County royalty, her name is mud. She needs to shake the dust from her sandals and move on, and let the damn place implode.

    Posted by: Joe | Mar 22, 2013 9:55:34 AM


  16. The Federalist Papers were published anonymously. In and of itself it's not a damning thing nor is it necessarily evidence of the lack of the courage of ones convictions. Sometimes authorship is a distraction. For example, there are many people here who cannot imagine that Rush Limbaugh has anything worthy to contribute; so convinced are they that they put their hands to their ears every time he speaks.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Mar 22, 2013 10:11:05 AM


  17. Yes, David Hearne, as I listened to that woman's racist rant, I thought of the Federalist papers.

    Posted by: Joe | Mar 22, 2013 10:15:20 AM


  18. It was a good thing they published that letter/voicemail. It was their way of saying "Listen up folks! If we don't change our ways and try to get rid of bigotry, this is what our county will forever be known for."

    It's a wake-up call for everyone living there.

    Posted by: RaleighRob | Mar 22, 2013 10:29:43 AM


  19. And of course ratbastard/Jason spews his usual idiotic nonsense and defends these "people"

    Posted by: Steve | Mar 22, 2013 10:30:57 AM


  20. @Caliban--Well stated. Whether this reflected someone's real feelings or was meant as satire, I think it was important for the paper to publish it. I've found that a lot of people who are casually anti-gay start to change their opinion when they see just how much it's exactly like other forms of hate.

    Posted by: Thomas | Mar 22, 2013 10:44:28 AM


  21. @ICEBLOO: "It would seem Towleroad has a problem with understanding the true meaning of "equal"."

    I agree, Andy should have blocked out the full spelling of "Catholic" if he wanted the article to be equal.

    Seriously though, did you or anonymous even read the rest of the article or did you just contrast and compare which terms were edited and which weren't?

    Posted by: Acronym Jim | Mar 22, 2013 10:55:30 AM


  22. @Ratbastard--Go get educated and stop embarrassing yourself, please. I realize this is feeding the troll, but:

    What's this "special protection" you're talking about? Does it have to do with state action, or behavior of private entities? Are you talking about Equal Protection doctrine? Honestly, you seem to be unclear what your thesis even is about "protection." You just seem like you want to be angry.

    You're completely wrong about most of the U.S. being sparsely populated. 80 percent of the population lives in metropolitan areas, and 60 percent are in cities with more than 200,000 people. These might not have the crazy density of many urban places in the world, but they're not "sparsely populated." You seem to be imagining the U.S. of the early 20th century. What does population or population density have to do with gun ownership? And when you read the Constitution, do you just ignore the fact that every right has been interpreted as subject to reasonable regulation? You sound like you've been listening to too much Ted Cruz rhetoric.

    Maybe you have some logical opinions rattling around in that brain of yours, but you seem completely unable of communicating them.

    Posted by: Thomas | Mar 22, 2013 11:07:27 AM


  23. @Ratbastard--Go get educated and stop embarrassing yourself, please. I realize this is feeding the troll, but:

    What's this "special protection" you're talking about? Does it have to do with state action, or behavior of private entities? Are you talking about Equal Protection doctrine? Honestly, you seem to be unclear what your thesis even is about "protection." You just seem like you want to be angry.

    You're completely wrong about most of the U.S. being sparsely populated. 80 percent of the population lives in metropolitan areas, and 60 percent are in cities with more than 200,000 people. These might not have the crazy density of many urban places in the world, but they're not "sparsely populated." You seem to be imagining the U.S. of the early 20th century. What does population or population density have to do with gun ownership? And when you read the Constitution, do you just ignore the fact that every right has been interpreted as subject to reasonable regulation? You sound like you've been listening to too much Ted Cruz rhetoric.

    Maybe you have some logical opinions rattling around in that brain of yours, but you seem completely unable of communicating them.

    Posted by: Thomas | Mar 22, 2013 11:07:28 AM


  24. @Ratbastard, what you posted above was REALLY pretty moronic.

    Jews don't face oppression?! Latinos don't? Right above that comment in regard to guns you point out how vast the US is, as if that excuses a rather paranoid, archaic, and anti-government "frontiersman" mindset which is out of step with our actual times, but that's beside the point of this article.

    But the same vastness of this country DOES figure into how race, religion, and sexuality are perceived. Because it IS so large the US has regional differences that aren't unlike smaller countries, with somewhat distinct attitudes and mores. We use short-hand to describe it, like "the South," "the Mid-West," or Red State/Blue State. From there it often breaks down even further between rural and urban.

    Do Jews face oppression in NYC and other large cities? Probably not much if at all. But try packing up your yarmulke and mezuzah and moving to the rural south and see you fare! And while a Mexican-American family in the Rio Grande valley or black people in Memphis may not face much racism I'd recommend they stay far away from many parts of Idaho, Wyoming, and many other states. It's better for gays in some places but there is still risk everywhere and places you should definitely avoid if possible (some gay people are born there).

    Prejudice and potential violence against minorities can be just as regional as food so just because someone might not need legal protection in one area of the country does NOT mean that the same group doesn't desperately need it in another.

    Posted by: Caliban | Mar 22, 2013 11:35:07 AM


  25. @Caliban,

    The vast majority of the areas people live in large numbers in the U.S. are diverse. You give the impression the U.S. outside of NYC is full of scary violently racist, bigoted whites. It isn't. White Christians or just white people period DO NOT hold any monopoly on hate, bigotry, racism, or any other kind of 'ism'. In fact, 'whites' are in general the most accepting of diversity on Earth. If you don't believe me, travel and live Asia, Africa [Saharan and sub-Saharan], etc. Multiculturalism is not something 'celebrated' like it is in 'white' countries.

    As far as moving to a small town or rural area, ANY 'stranger' is going to be stared at, and be talked about. This happens in small towns and rural areas EVERYWHERE, not just the south.

    Finally, my viewpoint has been greatly influenced by the environments I grew up in, which were and are very diverse. I saw and experienced hate, bigotry, just plain arsehole behavior displayed by all kinds of people including blacks, 'Hispanics', Asians, etc. And possibly the worse bigot and hate filled person I've ever encountered was the Russian Jewish owner of a dental supply manufacturer where I worked as a security guard evenings while in college. This guy would make Archie Bunker seem like a p*ssy cat.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Mar 22, 2013 11:54:20 AM


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