A community college instructor in Alabama has been placed on leave after posting anti-LGBTQ+ and racist remarks on Facebook, including a call for a rally against a Pride event.
Leigh Ann Courington, who teaches history at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, posted on Facebook this week that Satan’s influence is involved in a Pride event, Cullman Comes Out, planned for October 8 in Cullman, a nearby town, TV station WIAT reports.
“The devil is attacking our beautiful town of Cullman now apparently … and the police chief is in on it? I heard he was a crazy-ass liberal but this???” she wrote, according to the TV station. “We need a rally by the you-know-what to put an end to this foolishness. Of course, it may be as well-attended as the Juneteenth event the white liberal weirdos tried to do a few years ago in Hanceville.”
The post was private, but several Facebook users took screen shots and shared them, WIAT notes.
In another post, Courington denounced “Communists” who she said seek to “demonize nationalism, and pride in being white, and standing up against sexual deviancy,” reports AL.com, a site for several Alabama newspapers. She added, “Say what you will about the Nazis but at least they got some things right.”
Several local residents objected strongly to Courington’s remarks. Jennifer Lee, a former student of hers, told WIAT the teacher was actually calling for a rally by the Ku Klux Klan. “I cannot believe she actually wants the KKK to rally at what is probably going to be the most peaceful event ever,” Lee said. “Why? Just why?”
Lee said that when she took Courington’s history class, the instructor taught that the Civil War was not caused by slavery. “I know better,” Lee said. She said the college should reprimand Courington or possibly force her to retire.
Retired teacher Bethany Bishop told the station that Courington’s words “made me sick, honestly. Physically sick.” It’s particularly distressing since “she is trusted to educate our youth and teach them about our past and do it in a responsible way,” Bishop said.
Courington had little to say when contacted by WIAT. “People need to get a life,” she said. “Good grief.”
“That was on my private page, and if someone doesn’t like it, they need to unfriend/block me,” she added.
Wallace State President Vicki Karolewics released a statement Wednesday denouncing bigotry and saying Courington has been put on administrative leave. “Wallace State Community College condemns racism and bigotry in all its forms, and addresses any infractions of our policies decisively, including and especially those that prohibit discrimination,” she said. “The recent statements made by one of our employees are offensive to everyone who values human life, equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility. The employee has been placed on administrative leave pending further investigation.”
“Our efforts to create an inclusive, caring campus will always be ongoing,” she added. “This incident is a reminder that we must never think this work is done.”
Cullman Comes Out organizers Gilly Shine and Matthew Sanford told WIAT that all are welcome at the event. Asked if that includes Courington, they said, “Absolutely.”