Mary Durstein (l) / Obama photo via REUTERS

Chicago Torturers 'Could have been Obama's children,' Tweets Teacher

A high school teacher in West Virginia has been suspended after her personal Twitter account was found filled with racially charged tweets. Mary Durstein was suspended, with pay, on Monday, according to the Herald-Dispatch.


The tweet that initially garnered attention was in response to a photo of the four Black people accused of torturing a mentally ill white man in Chicago. “Can you imagine how many riots we would have around the country if the terrorists were white” the tweet read. The photo was captioned, “Imagine if these were 4 white people torturing a special need black kid!”

Durstein tweeted in response, “this could have been Obama’s children.”

Students in and residents of Cabell County, where Huntington High School is located, reported that tweet, along with others, to school officials over the weekend, according to Jedd Flowers, director of communications with Cabell County Schools.

Another post about the president was a photo of his May meeting with Japanese leaders, at which time he expressed sympathies for the bombings that took place in Japan during World War II. Durstein tweeted the photo of Obama and inaccurately wrote that the president apologized for the attacks. She also tweeted a picture of the USS Arizona Memorial, located on the gravesite for the people killed there during Pearl Harbor.

“This is where you belong you Muslim douchebag,” the second photo of the grave read.

Obama did not meet with the Japanese prime minister to apologize, however, but to express sympathies for the lives that were lost. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at the time said he and the president would “together pay respects for the victims” of the bombings.

In addition to the recent tweets, others dating back several years contained racially charged comments against Muslims, as well as against people who support Black Lives Matter.

The account has since been taken down, but not before Cabell County students took screenshots to share with officials. In July 2015 Durstein reportedly posted, “#cashinIn #WakeUpAmerica #viewcrew Who cares if we offend Muslims at least they keep their heads on tact. They’re the enemy!”

Cabell County Superintendent Bill Smith said the tweets “are things that we do not adhere to.”

“We believe that all children are welcome here — all adults as well — in Cabell County schools,” Smith said. “We want to make sure that is clear to our students and clear to the employees that work for us.”

It is not clear what further action will be taken against Durstein. Flowers said the school is still determining if Durtein’s tweets violated school policies. But the county’s code of conduct for school employees states employees must “demonstrate responsible citizenship by maintaining a high standard of conduct, self-control, and moral/ethical behavior.”

Durstein will meet with the superintendent, Flowers reported, to discuss the tweets.

In similar scenarios, action has been taken and then backpedaled. In November, a derogatory Facebook post about First Lady Michelle Obama garnered massive media attention. Two state leaders came under fire after one called the first lady an “Ape in heels” and the other agreed.

Pamela Taylor served as the director at the Clay County Development Corporation in Clay, a non-profit organization located in West Virginia that is funded by state and federal funds. She wrote the initial post and was reportedly fired as a result. However, in December, it was reported that Taylor would be returning back to work.

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