GHS principal’s apology sparks social media buzz | Local News

Parents and teachers of students at Greenville High School were surprised Monday morning to receive an apology from Principal Dr. Brant Perry, in which he apologized for an “error of judgment” he made over the weekend on social media.

In the days since Perry’s apology, social media was abuzz with parents and members of the Greenville community asking questions and sharing details they had found about the context of his expression of regret.

The apology, which Perry gave in person to GHS faculty and staff and delivered to parents through a voice message, was in regard to several replies he posted on Twitter in response to a Tweet from Moriah Stephens, a special education teacher in Minnesota.

Stephens’ initial Tweet on Friday, Aug. 20, came after she had viewed multiple posts from teachers who spoke of their students in a number of insensitive ways.

For example, one of the posts that Stephens responded to contained a video in which a high school teacher described a beginning-of-the-year “getting to know you” activity, where the teacher in the video recommended asking honors students about their “favorite book” and non-honors students about their “favorite movie.”

Another of the posts that Stephens took issue with was one in which a first year teacher at a Title 1 school talked about how happy she was to build relationships with her students, and closed her post with, “Title one schools have some hardcore kids, but to me, they just need to be mothered with love,” thus making assumptions about her students’ home lives.

After seeing these and similar posts where teachers used classist or ableist language when talking about their students, Stephens, who is African American, Tweeted a half-joking plea to white allies saying, “The way these white female teachers have been popping out with their whack narratives lately…allies, I need y’all to get your COUSINS Please!!”

Shortly after posting the Tweet, Stephens stepped away from Twitter for a few minutes and returned to find multiple replies from Perry, which included “Tell me more about white female teachers. I love that dumb (expletive) statement,” and he questioned the validity of Stephens’ academic credentials by saying, “Tell me about your MA. Where? Research based? Thesis? No.”

The next day, Stephens contacted Greenville ISD and reported Perry, explaining that she felt bullied by what he had said online.

Despite reporting Perry, Stephens told the Herald-Banner Thursday that she doesn’t hold ill will toward him and that she didn’t intend for the incident to pick up as much traction on social media as it did.

“I have no intentions of trying to get anybody fired. I’m just a special ed teacher in Minnesota, and I have no ties to Greenville,” Stephens said. “Somehow, my Tweet ended up getting promoted and Dr. Perry saw and responded to it.”

“Even though I stand by what I said and reported him to the district, it wasn’t me who shared the whole thing with everyone [on social media],” Stephens added. “Other people saw it and ran with it.”

Shortly after his Tweets were reported to the district, Perry de-activated his Twitter.

Toward the end of his message to parents Monday, Perry said, “I know that everything I say and do reflects on us as a high school and on Greenville ISD. I sincerely apologize to you for my error in judgment.

“I want to assure you that I have great respect for all students and all teachers, who come from many different backgrounds,” he continued. “I believe that diversity is a tremendous asset.”

Currently, there are no plans for the district to discipline Perry beyond the public apology, Greenville ISD’s Chief Communications Officer Helen Williams said.

Perry was hired as Greenville High School’s principal in June, after its previous principal of 12 years, Heath Jarvis, was reassigned to the position of chief human resources officer for the district.

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