St. Marys should be upset

The Lima News

February 22, 2014

Even scarier than the racially insensitive comments posted online earlier this month by St. Marys school board member Robert Valentine is that he sees nothing wrong with the remarks.

He has yet to offer any sort of apology, acknowledge they were in any way inappropriate, insensitive, demeaning or just plain ignorant. Instead, he defends the comments as being justified.

Valentine caused a furor when it was discovered that he wrote in an online chat forum:

“Most teachers are in this (St. Marys) school district because they want to be here. Sure, you can go to the inner city and possibly get (paid) a little more, but take a look at the cost of living there, to say nothing of getting mugged, raped and your throat slit all for giving Brother Deonta a bad grade?”

The comments quickly drew the ire of community members in this Auglaize County city, as well as teachers and fellow school board members. On Monday, St. Marys City School Superintendent Shawn Brown issued a public statement in which he said the comments “do not reflect any opinion or position of the St. Marys City School Board” and that the district felt compelled to state its displeasure and disappointment with Valentine.

Valentine tried to explain away the comments by stating he was using the word “brother” in a Christian way and that he used the name Deonta because it was “multi-racial.” He said he didn’t understand why people were so upset by his remarks. As he explained it, the comments were made by “Robert Valentine the Individual,” not “Robert Valentine the School Board Member.”

If Valentine were to look in a mirror, we’re pretty sure that he would find the two Robert Valentines are indeed one and the same person.

That person, with one stroke of the keyboard, managed to put all black students who attend inner city schools into one bucket, that of muggers, rapists and killers.

Valentine was elected into office this year for his strong anti-tax words. Already, some in St. Marys are looking for ways in which they can get him to step down, and rightly so.

He has been an embarrassment this week for the St. Marys City School District.