The Grand Ledge school board voted Friday to terminate Brian Metcalf's employment over a Facebook post from the former superintendent. Metcalf called Floyd’s death “wrong,” but he added that “it all starts with being a law abiding citizen,” according to the Michigan outlet MLive.com. Metcalf’s post said Floyd was arrested before his death on suspicion of using a counterfeit bill.
School district officials will place Metcalf on paid leave until the dismissal is final, according to the Michigan outlet.
Floyd died last month in Minneapolis after a former Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for over eight minutes during the arrest.
Metcalf apologized for the post last week and said he would undergo cultural sensitivity training, according to The Associated Press. The school district board initially said in a statement that they were concerned about Metcalf’s post, but they said they would not fire him.
The school board heard multiple hours of testimony from concerned community members Friday during a special meeting, according to the Lansing State Journal. The meeting, held over Zoom, was attended by nearly 600 people. Grand Ledge Education Association (GLEA) President Greg Almy told the board that "It saddens GLEA that Dr. Metcalf chose to make comments about an important social issue in our country, not by simply supporting equality and celebrating diversity, but by questioning if good citizenship would have prevented Mr. Floyd from losing his life."
"As the leader of our school system, Dr. Metcalf’s ignorance has left our school district and community tarnished by making tone-deaf remarks about a socially charged topic," he continued.
Other community members, former students and parents also offered emotional statements during the hearing. Some discussed racism that they have experienced in the school district.