Schools chief apologizes for 'hurtful' blog posts

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal broke down in tears Wednesday at the end of a news conference where he apologized for posting an anonymous blog comment that denigrated welfare recipients and other postings that were seen by some as racist.
AP Wire
Jun 26, 2014

Huppenthal was barely composed from the beginning of the packed news conference at the state Board of Education's meeting room near the Capitol, but he finally lost his composure after about a half-hour when he tried to explain how those comments had most affected his longtime assistant.

"We can imagine the emotional impact. I have talked to people who have been hurt by the hour," Huppenthal said. The person I feel most — to the point of my own tears — is my assistant Merle. She has been with me for .... "

Huppenthal then broke down completely and left the room.

The state's top education officials, however, said he would neither resign his position nor drop out of the Republican primary, where he faces a challenge from a conservative who is campaigning to get the state to drop new Common Core standards.

He also said he would not back away from his support for the standards "that are hugely controversial among the conservative elements of Arizona."

Huppenthal has been peppered with criticism for a week, ever since it became public that he had posted on both conservative and liberal blogs under pseudonyms for several years. Among the posts dating to 2011, when he took his current office, was one that denigrated both President Barack Obama and welfare recipients.

"Obama is rewarding the lazy pigs with food stamps (44 million people), air-conditioning, free health care, flat-screen TV's (typical of "poor" families)."

Another earlier set of comments that came to light this week credited former state Sen. Russell Pearce, the author of the state's tough anti-illegal immigration law, with bringing down crime rates. But he went on to call on immigrant to assimilate, and quickly.

"No spanish radio stations, no spanish billboards, no spanish tv, no spanish newspapers," he wrote. "This is America, speak English."

A former superintendent of public instruction, Lisa Graham Keegan, was among several community members who called Wednesday for Huppenthal to resign. She said his comments were so damaging that he can't effectively lead the state's school agency.

"The No. 1 issue for the person who holds the job of superintendent of public instruction is deep respect and community with the people that we serve and those that we work with," said Keegan, who served from 1995-2001 as a Republican but now is an independent. "John Huppenthal's comments have violated that sacred bond."

Others at the news conference where Keegan spoke echoed her comments.

"We wouldn't take the comments that John Huppenthal has said from a student body president. We wouldn't take it from a principal at a school," said Lawrence Robinson, a Roosevelt School District board member. "We certainly will not take it from the person responsible for representing all of our public schools and our education."

Huppenthal faces a primary challenge from Diane Douglas, a conservative Republican who has attacked the incumbent for his support of the Common Core standards. Two Democrats, David Garcia and Sharon Thomas, are also in the race.

Comments

truthhurts

don't apologize for your opinion and free speech, this is America. The only thing hurtful here is what those losers are doing to America and the President is enabling it

deuce liti

Right on dude! This is America! Do whatever the hell you want and say whatever you want! We dont care about anyone, but ourselves. Got a problem with that? WHO BLOODY CARES!

This is America! Do whatever the hell you want and say whatever you want! It's all about me! Me! And more me! I ain't gots to apologize to no one about nothing!

This is America! I can take whatever I want from whoever I want and ain't nobody can say nothing! Don't like it? Who cares! I dont have to apologize to you. Why? It's me! I have my rights and MY RIGHTS supersede your rights. Right? Yup! Why?

This is America! God only blesses our murderous monster of a raping country cuz God bleeds red, white and blue! He even has a little American flag pin on his lapel. Why?

This is America!

Don't like it? Too bad. THE TRUTH HURTS.

Lanivan

Well said.

truthhurts

nice argument crack head.

Wolverine49457

At Whitehall the principal and the nurse would come into the classroom and ask all kids on assistance such as AFDC to raise their hand and give their name and the names of any siblings also attending Whitehall. We got a small amount after my Dad passed away, Mom had a good job at Misco (Howmet) and didn’t want or need it but they told her refusal to get on the program may result in the state taking us away so she did out of fear and being bullied. It...it was humiliating and embarrassing. But that was sort of the norm at Whitehall as I recall was “us and them” attitude, if you didn’t live in Whitehall you were not treated the same…Thank you Mr. Bourdon for one of many miserable experiences.

truthhurts

so we should push the issue under the fluffy pillow? it seems like that is what you are suggesting. I know for a fact there are many kids on assistance programs that do not need it and abuse the system. It should be shameful to be habititually on these programs and wear nice clothing and have nice stuff.

Wolverine49457

Oh not suggesting pushing it under a rug in the least, remember when it was suggested that those accepting public assistance be madatated drug testing it was like we asked for their pinky and one eye, we should be proud to use tax money to get high on our dole, where is the love that says we understand why you use street drugs to cope....you learn coping skills to cope!

thecatsmom

I agree with most of what he said. We use to be a country that believed that you work you eat.
Most people have no idea the huge amount of handouts people, who are perfectly fit to work, do not do anything.
The country is running out of working suckers to support the people contributing nothing but more kids to keep them on the dole.
Wake up americans! Lets get rid of these politicians that are handing out the fruits of our labor, just to keep their positions in the government.

Lanivan

John Huppenthal appears to be a greatly compromised individual, buffeted by the forces of the conservative right wing cult that demands being subservient to a set of tightly and carefully constructed stereotypes and "enemies" - poor people, moochers and takers, immigrants, at-risk and indigent children. Clearly, he has been manipulated politically, causing him to act out through anonymous posts that, upon discovery, are causing him emotional turmoil.

Like many of the comments made on this article, Huppenthal is merely projecting the Republican myths and falsehoods about poor people, needy children, the political debasing and stereotyping of young minds, and a promotion of anger and cowardice in place of rational thought and caring for your fellow citizen.

Huppenthal should remove himself from his position of school superintendent, and posters need to educate themselves on the facts rather than mindless promotion of half-truths and falshoods.

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