An elementary school principal in Missouri has been placed on paid leave after responding to a David Hogg tweet with images of himself and his children shooting firearms, according to local media.
Dr. Chad Searcey, the principal at Compass Elementary School in Platte City, Mo., was responding to a Twitter post by Parkland activist David Hogg, who was encouraging his followers to support funding for gun violence research.
“Gun violence is the second leading cause of death for the young people in the United States, yet basically gets no research funding from the federal government at all whatsoever,” Hogg says in the accompanying video. “We have a chance to fund it currently in this Congress with this Senate and give $50 million to the CDC and NIH.”
Join @AMarch4OurLives and @bradybuzz in the #WeNeedtoKnow campaign to get Congress to fund gun violence research.— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) June 11, 2019
Record your own video explaining why we need to find gun violence research and tag your congressman and senators with #WeNeedtoKnow https://t.co/ynkGEYUh0q
Searcey replied with three images of himself and his children holding and shooting firearms. Searcey is pictured with an AR-15, and his children are shooting .22 caliber handguns. The text simply says, “#Merica.”
Local media reports that Searcey apologized on Twitter for his post, but the school decided to suspend him anyway. The district released a statement promising to “address the situation immediately”:
The District learned of the tweet today and immediately placed the employee on paid, administrative leave while we investigate the situation. We understand why the public response has been strong with regard to student safety in our nation’s schools. We intend to address the situation immediately and in a manner consistent with our Board of Education policies, as well as our goal of ensuring a safe and caring environment for our students, staff, and community.
Hogg also responded on Twitter, implying that Searcey doesn’t care about kids who are shot at school.
Cool guns, you know what’s more cool? Mom’s and dads getting to see their kids graduate high school alive. Kids not having to step over bloodstained sidewalks on their way to school. Parents not coming home to find their child with a self inflicted gun shot wound.
Cool guns, you know what’s more cool?— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) June 12, 2019
Mom’s and dads getting to see their kids graduate high school alive.
Kids not having to step over bloodstained sidewalks on their way to school.
Parents not coming home to find their child with a self inflicted gun shot wound. https://t.co/lPxJSBUejN
The reaction from parents of children who attend Searcey’s school have been mixed.
Rachel Casaos told local media that “some things are unfortunate” but “he’s an amazing principal who’s very compassionate and kind. I think he should be forgiven.”
Others weren’t so sure Searcey should be allowed to return to work.
“I mean, he has the right to have guns and go shoot them with his family. But to post something like that on a serious subject like that is very insensitive,” Melanie Lillard said. “I don’t know if he should come back or not.”
Searcey has since deleted both the post and his entire Twitter account, but an old tweet saved by the Internet Archive indicates he is an avid outdoorsman and promotes youth hunting.
Searcey’s bio on the Platte County R-3 School District’s website indicates that he’s been with the district for 14 years. He describes himself and his interests on his private Instagram account as, “Leader; Military Supporter; Outdoorsman; #Huskers #KC #Royals fan; Continuous Learner and Proud American. Political View-Common Sense.”