'KARMA'? | Uproar after local FB post about VA train crash
BEL AIR, Md. (WBFF) - A Facebook post about Wednesday's deadly Amtrak crash is causing an uproar in Maryland.
It was written by the president of the Harford County Education Association which represents thousands of public school employees.
Ryan Burbey posted a link to an article about the crash with the word "karma".
He's since deleted that post and apologized saying he made a mistake.
Maryland Republican representative Andy Harris is now calling for Burbey's resignation.
"He should resign immediately from his position," Harris says. "One of the people in charge of teaching our children, you can't make a mistake like that."
In a statement sent to FOX45, Burbey says: "At the time I posted the comment, I did not know anyone was harmed. I would not have posted it if i had. I am sorry."
He goes on to say he was being sarcastic and "I found the incident ironic given that congress has for years failed to fund Amtrak safety measures. I hope folks can forgive a moment of insensitivity."
"People are human so they vent their emotion on social media all the time," says Fabia Scali Warner.
She trains and coaches people on communication.
"If you're expressing something that comes from your emotions, count up to 10 before posting it to social media. You might reconsider," she said.
She considers Burbey's post a mistake, but not one worth resigning over.
"We're undergoing a sexual harassment discussion in this country where there's zero tolerance," said Harris. "There should be zero tolerance. This is an instance in this circumstance where there should be zero tolerance as well."
"Because for him, sexual harassment is the same as an inconsiderate tweet of one word?" wondered Scali Warner.
"This is not an unethical communication from my standpoint," she said. "It's just a mistake and he admitted it was a mistake."
Burbey declined to speak on camera, but did say he has no intention of resigning.
Here's his full statement to FOX45:
"At the time I posted the comment, I did not know anyone was harmed. I would not have posted it if I had. I am sorry. I posted an insensitive comment about the GOP train wreck into the dump truck. "Karma" I was being sarcastic. It was not meant to offend anyone or make light of someone being harmed. I don't want anyone to ever be hurt or killed. Those who know me, know this. I took the photo down. I am sorry folks were offended. It was not a partisan smear. Frankly, I found the incident ironic given that Congress has for years failed to fund Amtrak safety measures. I hope folks can forgive a moment of insensitivity."
"If someone provides me contact information for the family of Mr. Foley or anyone else who was harmed, I will certainly apologize to them. The post was never intend to be partisan. It was insensitive and not well-thought. As a devote Christian, I can only continue to ask forgiveness and make amends for my insensitivity. I was raised to accept responsibility for my actions. I am doing so by apologizing and learning from the incident. I have learned that we all should be a lot more careful and sensitive of what we say and post on social media. The hyper-partisan rancor which is strangling our country has turned folks who should be friends and neighbors against each other. We should all be focused on building bridges and collaborating; not tearing each other down."
"As to Congressman Harris's comments specifically. I believe they are misplaced and only amplify the divide which we currently live under. To assert that I have somehow discredited my office or violated the trust of the citizens of Harford County is wrong. To imply that I was mocking victims is both erroneous and deliberately malicious. I am stunned that Congressman Harris would not have more important issues with which to concern himself than a poorly thought, insensitive post on Facebook made by a teacher. Mr. Harris should consider the weight of his remarks. Congressmen can cause great damage to ordinary folks and incite dangerous responses by making statements like he has made."
"One thing Congressman Harris got right is that partisanship and politics have no place in our schools. Teachers should teach kids how to think; not what to think. That is what I and my colleagues do. Politicians should not seek to score political points by maligning our teachers, our schools or our students. I posted an insensitive remark which did not convey the message intended. It does not mean that I am hateful or lack compassion for others. It means that I made a mistake. It means that for a moment in time, I posted an insensitive remark which was wildly misinterpreted."
"I have no intention of resigning. The post was made on my personal Facebook account and on my personal time. The post was not made in my capacity as HCEA President. HCEA is a non-partisan organization. We work to advocate for students, teachers and public education. We have accomplished much since I have been president. I intend to continue that work. I am truly sorry for any harm I have caused anyone by making the insensitive post I made yesterday. I have learned a lot from this; mostly that we all need to be a little more kind, a little more thoughtful and a lot less quick to post comments which may unintentionally offend or hurt others."
"The post was never intended to be partisan, hurtful or in any way malicious. I am truly sorry and hope to be able to apologize in a more personal way to the folks who were hurt in the train accident."