Missouri teacher cleared of anti-gay Facebook post

Mon. October 31, 2011 4:11 AM by GoPride.com News Staff

Joplin teacher now claims he was "hacked"

Joplin, MO - Joplin, Missouri teacher Jim Whitney who was embroiled in controversy after anti-gay comments, including a suggestion that more gay youth should commit suicide, on his Facebook page now says he was hacked.

Whitney, a math teacher in the small southwest Missouri town, was being investigated by the school district but no action was taken by the Joplin School Board because his Facebook account was "hacked."

"We've investigated and found no wrong-doing on the part of the teacher," Joplin Superintendent Dr. CJ Huff told KZRG radio. "It's unfortunate when you're dealing with social media and dealing with technology and the potential for people to get on to other people's accounts and say things that shouldn't be said."

Whitney originally apologized for the comments, telling the Joplin Globe, "I regret that the posts appeared on Facebook." At the time he did not deny making the posts and never mentioned being hacked.

The controversy stems from a Facebook thread on Oct. 19, including a comment from Whitney's account. The post from Whitney, or someone using his Facebook account, read: "11-13 ought to do it. Somewhere in that vicinity."

The shocking remark was in response when someone asked on Facebook: "How many more kids have to kill themselves before everyone realizes this is an actual issue?"

Missourians for Equality posted a screenshot with the entire Facebook conversation to their own Facebook page. The group encouraged its followers to contact school board members.

The school board did not offer any further explanation as to how Whitney's Facebook account was hacked and they cleared the teacher of any wrongdoing.