JACKSONVILLE — Parents in Duval County are up in arms after Kimberly Stidham, the principal of the Duval Charter School at Baymeadows, posted several overtly racist messages on her Facebook page.
In one post, Stidman quotes Toby Keith’s song Beer for My Horses, which says “Take all of the rope in Texas, find a tall Oak tree, round up all of them bad boys, hang them high in the street for all the people to see that,” considered by most a pro-lynching anthem.
One Baymeadows parent was disgusted by the principal’s behavior on Facebook.
“Everything I saw kind of had an anti-black sentiment to it,” the parent said. “It definitely left me thinking, that um, if not hatred, that she at least had some severe prejudice against minorities, against black people.”
“She’s a principal, she should know better and she should do better,” the parent added. “I’m speaking out, because I’m hoping to bring awareness to other parents. Not just minority parents, but parents who have their child there in general.”
The parent said the school had so far done nothing.
“The feeling that I got from them, was that they maybe shared the same views, or didn’t really care. They were just going to brush it under the rug,” she said.
Another parent was also outraged by the post.
“I was disgusted. I was angry,” the parent said. “I was saddened to think that someone in a position such as she’s in, a principal of a school, would have those type of views.”
In other posts, Stidham slams the “Black Lives Matter” movement, advocates for taking down a Martin Luther King Jr. statue, and defends Donald Trump by saying, “I am sooo confused… if Trump is the hate-mongering candidate, why aren’t his supporters murdering cops and innocent people?”
A concerned mother questioned how Stidham’s views might affect her capacity to lead the school.
“I’m just not comfortable with my son being there and knowing someone that could say those things in public,” she said. “I’m curious of what she would say in private with my child or any other child.”
Stidham has defended her actions, releasing a statement that reads:
“I am absolutely devastated that my personal political views were perceived to be racist in any way. I am a firm believer in equality, justice and respect for all individuals and I recognize now that some of my posts could have been misunderstood. I appreciate the fact that those who were offended brought this to my attention so that I could rectify the situation. I encourage anyone who has any concerns about this to come to me directly so that we can discuss it further.”
Colleen Reynolds, spokesperson for Duval Charter School at Baymeadows, also released a vague statement that neither condemns Stidham nor mentions the specific steps that will be taken to deal with this matter.
“Duval Charter School at Baymeadows values all people regardless of their race, gender, religious or political views. While we do not restrict our employees from their right to free speech when operating privately, we do not condone any expressions that incite violence, racism or hate. While we are not at liberty to discuss any specific personnel matters, we can say that we conduct a thorough investigation and take all appropriate actions.”