People in Williamson County who tried to speak out against a Twitter post from Superintendent Mike Looney say they were blocked from using the account.
Many believe Looney wrote an inflammatory tweet about former school board member Susan Curlee, who resigned her position last year. As reported, Curlee spoke out many times against Looney and his agenda for the school system.
Looney’s post was a rundown of what he considered the best and the worst things that happened to the school district in 2016.
The worst thing, Looney said, was the number of students who died in wrecks. Looney did not say how many students died.
One of the two best things — students’ success in academics, athletics and the arts.
The second-best thing — “SC resigned.”
If Looney was referring to anyone other than Curlee he should add a clarification. No one in his office returned repeated requests for comment Tuesday and Wednesday.
Curlee said she would decline comment.
The website address is twitter.com/wcsDirofSchools, suggesting it’s an official school system account and not Looney’s personal Twitter.
County resident Denise Boothby said she saw the tweet Monday, the day Looney posted it, and she used her Twitter account to scold him.
“Afterwards, I’m sitting there looking at the screen to see what else might be on and then it says, ‘You’ve been blocked from this account. It was almost instantaneous,” Boothby said.
“I didn’t mention Susan Curlee. I just said I didn’t think it was right for him to use a Twitter account set up using taxpayer resources that way. I don’t think the public pays for you to use that forum to attack taxpayers.
Boothby said she knows of at least three others who also were blocked after speaking out.
The irony, Boothby added, is that Looney has pushed hard for an anti-bullying campaign called “Be Nice.”
All the links explaining the “Be Nice” campaign on the school system’s official website were down Wednesday morning.
Cory Smith lives in Lincoln County, and, Smith said, he was blocked after calling Looney a hypocrite.
“The tweet was in very bad taste. He not only took the occasion to sucker-punch Susan in the gut but then in the same keystroke he also mentioned the loss of student lives this past semester. That to me was just low-class,” Smith said.
“If you are using school resources even on taxpayer time then I look at that no differently than a public employee, a police officer or a public works utility that uses taxpayer resources for personal use.”
Smith said he has followed Looney on Twitter for three years.
The tweet was bad enough, but blocking him and other people is worse.
“If he doesn’t block anybody he at least leaves it open to the public to go back and forth and discuss it with him in the courtroom of public opinion,” Smith said.
“When he tries to block out his opponents that is no different than me going to his office to discuss it with him and he slams the door in my face and locks the door and has me physically removed from the premises. That way you can put your opinion out there and not crawl back in your hole and hide and not have to face things.”
Victoria Jackson is a former Saturday Night Live star who moved to Williamson County and lost a county commission election in 2014.
For at least a couple of years she has spoken out against Looney and his to-do list for the school system.
“I found out from a friend of mine about Looney’s tweet, but when I went to Looney’s Twitter account I found out I was already blocked.”
“I thought what he did was childish, immature and unprofessional.”
According to the school system’s social media policy, school employees are responsible for their own behavior on those sites.
“The same standards expected in WCS professional settings are expected on professional social media sites,” the policy said.
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