A Dothan High School assistant football coach has been removed from his position after several social media posts drew criticism online over the weekend, according to a statement from Dothan City Schools on its website.
“As of now, we can report that the employee has been removed from their coaching position with the Dothan High School Wolves Football Team,” the statement read. “In the coming days, the investigation will conclude and a recommendation will be made to the Dothan City School Board of Education.”
Screenshots of three Facebook posts with the name Timothy J. Gillespie attached to them appeared to make light of civil unrest in Minneapolis following George Floyd’s death.
One of the posts read: “I just heard that no work boots, or garden implements, nor any other work related items have been stolen during the looting. Seems all the library books and the employment offices are untouched as well.”
The second post read: “Want to clear out all the crowds rioting? Tell them another stimulus check is coming tomorrow. They will run home like their hair is on fire and their asses is catching.”
A third post read: “Ok got to say it, if you answer to help solve social injustice is to burn, loot and vandalize, your a special kind of stupid. George Floyd was a tragic murder. But the police that are letting people destroy, burn and loot are wrong also. These people are not protesters. They are criminals. Tear gas them, rubber bullet them, spray them with chemical water and blister their butts. But its time we 1. Took care of social injustice by putting George Floyd’s murderer in an electric chair. 2. Start doing what ever it takes to stop the attitude of people who loot, burn and take part in mob mentality. These are the people that actually need a knee in their neck.”
Gillespie is a Dothan City Schools employee and, until recently, held the position of the Wolves’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Dothan City Schools immediately addressed the posts on Facebook Saturday: “Dothan City Schools Superintendent Dr. Phyllis Edwards has been made aware of the social media comment of a DCS employee, and DCS administration is taking the necessary steps for appropriately handling the situation. We assure you that we are taking this situation very seriously.”
DCS did not identify the employee who is the subject of the statement.
The Facebook account where the Gillespie posts were made had been taken down Saturday afternoon.
On Monday, Dothan City Schools addressed the civil unrest that was apparently the subject of the posts.
“Across the nation, we are all hurting from the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd. This sad incident is sure to elicit many varied emotions from all of us. Tragedies of this nature reach far beyond the specific locality of their occurrence and profoundly impact all of us individuals and across the broader community in countless ways.
“Unfortunately, these tragedies also remind us that we have much work to do. We appreciate the partnership with our families and communities as we continuously work every day to address those challenges.
“Over the weekend, a Dothan City School employee shared comments on their personal page that do not reflect our system’s values and culture. We come to our community today to let you know that we do not condone these comments. We entrust our educators to be leaders not only in the classroom they serve but in the community we all live in. Their actions reflect on their position as a role model for our students.
Our students deserve the best. Our students deserve to learn in an environment where they feel a sense of belonging and connection to their school and teachers, where their social-emotional, physical, and mental health is nurtured and valued.
“Although this has been a challenging end of the school year, we want to emphasize how much we value our community and our families. We will always stand together and remain ONE CITY, ONE TEAM.”