Stubborn Ohio Teacher Fired For Refusing To Stop Making Racist And Insensitive Remarks
In Ohio a Caucasian teacher was fired this week after a Black student accused him of saying that the U.S. didn’t need another Black president after the student expressed his desire to some day run the nation. The teacher is denying the accusation, but what he’s claiming he said isn’t much better. According to the teacher, he merely told the kid that the nation didn’t need another president like Barack Obama, regardless of race. But saying that after a Black student expresses a desire to be Commander in Chief is still pretty tone deaf, if you ask me.
The Fairfield Board of Education voted to oust the teacher, Gil Voigt, of Fairfield Freshman School, unanimously. According to Superintendent Paul Otten:
“The district felt that the evidence was sufficient to support the termination of Mr. Voigt’s employment.”
Now, many of you might be ready to jump on the “poor Mr. Voigt” bandwagon, but there is more to this story. Even if Voigt did only point out his differing political beliefs, he did so in a completely thoughtless way. I’m not comfortable with someone being fired for their political beliefs, but there is a time and place for everything, and that simply wasn’t the time.
But according to a state referee who is investigating the claim, Voigt has a history of making derogatory or racially charged statements towards students, including an accusation that in 2008 that he used a laser pointer to make a student’s nose red, calling the boy “an African American Rudolph.” Back then Voigt admitted the accusation, but claimed he was only repeating what another student said earlier. Yeah, because that’s a GREAT excuse for making potentially bigoted remarks.
Then, in 2012 Voigt was accused of calling a student stupid, and imply that another student was gay. Wow, this guy is a charmer! With this incident Voigt denied making the comments altogether, and claimed that the students were conspiring against him. Honestly, if this was the only accusation, I might be inclined to believe him (because teenagers are sometimes the worst) but considering his past behavior, I think there’s a good chance he did say it.
Ultimately the state referee found that Voigt’s explanations for all of these events (including the most recent one that got him fired) were “not credible.” According to a report given to the Board of Education by the referee:
“He has made race-based, culturally based and insulting comments to students over a period of years. He was warned on multiple occasions that if his behavior continued that he would be subject to termination. Unfortunately, for both Voigt and his students, he did not alter his conduct.”
So yeah, while none of these events are overtly fire-able offenses by themselves, Voigt has shown complete disregard for his student’s feelings and has refused to follow the rules of his employment. Sounds to me like this was a long time coming. There are enough bigots in the world, we don’t need them teaching the next generation.