Newly-elected Camrose-area school trustee apologizes for inappropriate tweets
Published Wednesday, November 6, 2013 5:28PM MST Last Updated Wednesday, November 6, 2013 6:51PM MST
A man who was recently elected to the Battle River School Board, apologized for a series of inappropriate tweets Wednesday.
Jim Andre was recently elected school board trustee for the school division in Camrose and area – but before he was voted in, he tweeted and re-tweeted what some are calling racist and homophobic comments.
In one tweet, Andre joked by asking ‘How Justin Bieber removes a condom,’ before telling the inappropriate punch line, in addition to more than a dozen re-tweets from the account @TheFunnyRacist.
“People who know me know I have a bit of an off-the-wall sense of humour and I mean, it’s not views that I personally believe,” Andre said in an interview with CTV News in Forestburg.
The messages, tweeted and re-tweeted between January and October 2013, and raised red flags for Dr. Kristopher Wells, director of the U of A’s Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services.
“This isn’t simply the case of somebody making a re-tweet of somebody else’s comments one time,” Wells said. “This is a constant pattern of behaviour.”
Most of the tweets were sent before Andre’s campaign to become school board trustee started.
The school board said Andre’s tweets were brought to their attention last week – and the board’s chair was quick to separate the division from the comments.
“The BRSD Board would like to make clear that these statements are in no way associated with the school division,” Battle River School Division Chair Kendall Severson said.
The Education Minister told CTV News the tweets are unacceptable, but Andre’s fate is up to the school board.
“This is a locally elected trustee, and the local school board has the empowerment to take action on something like this, and we’re going to let them take that action,” Minister Jeff Johnson said.
For Andre, he apologized, and said he hoped people in the area would give him a second chance.
“I’m truly sorry for what I did and I should’ve been more thoughtful in my comments,” Andre said. “Because, I mean, social media is everywhere.”
Andre is one of six new members on the eight member board; Severson is also newly elected to the position.
It’s not clear if Andre will be removed, but Severson wouldn’t rule it out – saying there will be some sort of consequences.
Andre's Twitter account was deleted about a week ago.
With files from Dan Grummett