Login NowClose 

Bus driver among those calling for Whitlow to resign

By LAUREN LANGLOIS staffwriter@hammondstar.com

Oscar Dantzler was among the several residents who called for a Tangipahoa Parish School Board member to resign from office as a result of a controversial social media post.

Dantzler, who has 22 years of experience as a school bus driver with the school system, said he plans to attend the next board meeting and call for Mike Whitlow's resignation. He spoke at the last board meeting as well.

Whitlow got into hot water for sharing a meme on his personal Facebook page that included the words "If we want to make America great again we will have to make evil people fear punishment again" accompanied by an image of a noose, an image largely associated with lynchings and racism in the United States. The share created a backlash and Whitlow quickly deleted the post and apologized repeatedly, saying he did not mean to offend anyone.

In his comments to the board, Dantzler said students were recently arrested for posting a dangerous statement on Facebook. He said Whitlow should also face consequences for his social media post as an elected official "for the betterment of our community." He said while he forgives Whitlow for the wrongheaded post, he still believes Whitlow should be held accountable for his action.

He found it especially troubling that Whitlow's post was made during Black History Month, when students are learning about the fight for racial equality during the Civil Rights Movement. He turned to Martin Luther King, Jr. in his comments, saying Dr. King stood up against injustice and it is time to do the same. He believes other board members could recommend that Whitlow resign, though he cannot be made to do so.

"We are requesting and urging the board member to step down and we are requesting and urging the superintendent and the rest of the board members to recommend and take some type of action," he stated.