- The Washington Times - Friday, February 10, 2017

A substitute teacher in Tennessee has received a lesson on the professional consequences of using violent political rhetoric.

Rutherford County School District has banned a local man from overseeing classrooms after his social media posts included comments about shooting supporters of President Donald Trump. David Colin, the individual at the center of the controversy, told a local CBS affiliate that an ongoing investigation by officials into his conduct should be seen as a free speech issue.

“I don’t want this to be about the posts. It’s more about what comes after, using people’s freedom of speech, and trying to use that to browbeat one side against the other,” Mr. Colin told the station.

The comments that sparked his ban include:

  • “The only good trump [sic] supporter is a dead trump [sic] supporter.”
  • “Shooting [Trump supporters] sounds more appealing than getting along with them.”

Mr. Colin told the station that media coverage of his comments have been “blown way out of proportion” since they were made on Nov. 9 — one day after the U.S. presidential election — and Dec. 12, 2016.

Rutherford County Schools released a statement on Thursday calling Mr. Colin’s comments “inappropriate” and “threatening,” while contractor PESG was told that he would “not be able to work any longer” for the district.

The social media posts were first brought to officials’ attention Feb. 8.

“I’d probably phrase it a little bit differently, but I would still speak out,” he said when asked how he would behave if he could change the past.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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