SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — The Lake Brantley High School Junior ROTC instructor, a master sergeant in the Air Force, resigned after reports surfaced of direct messages between students on social media saying he needed to be hung, tarred and feathered.
The school’s principal confirmed to Channel 9 investigative reporter Daralene Jones that racist and degrading comments were uncovered on a social media group chat. But he also confirmed that the students are still on campus.
The students have been disciplined, but neither the principal nor district officials would say how, citing student privacy laws.
The principal would only say he doesn't take this kind of thing lightly, and that the student discipline handed out reflects that.
Clearly, it wasn't enough for the Air Force master sergeant, who walked away from his job.
“I would safely say that enough wasn't done and that's being kind,” said Dan Smith, president of the Seminole Teachers Union.
The master sergeant was one of only a handful of black teachers at the school.
Jones was told the derogatory comments about the instructor’s race started in September. But the principal said he wasn't made aware of those issues and didn't find out there was a problem until January.
“He wanted to have a meeting with the students and parents of the program and have a discussion so things are open,” Smith said. “He told me that it was deemed not to be a good idea because that could possibly make a bigger deal out of it.”
The direct messages between students were found on Instagram, and in them Jones found that the instructor was called the N-word.
“There was some drama with some bad cadets who just decided to run their mouths in a group chat jokingly, and it wasn't taken as a joke,” Lake Brantley High student Mason Guist said. “I mean it's sad to see and I don't blame him for leaving.”
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, reports say a sign on his classroom door made reference to a slogan used by white nationalists groups.
The principal said within 24 hours after he was alerted, the students were disciplined.
“In my mind come up with justice, but it seems to me they shouldn't be in that school. I mean education is required, but it's also, your location is a privilege,” Smith said.
Jones contacted teacher for comment but has not heard back. The teacher’s union president told Jones that the instructor plans to go back to school to get his master’s degree and decide what to do next.
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