More today on Philip Holthoff, a Star City social studies teacher whose writing, under a pseudonym, reportedly appears frequently on a white supremacist website, according to an article on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hate Watch website. UPDATE: He’s been suspended while the school district investigates the report.
He has not responded to my Facebook message for comment and his Facebook page is no longer accessible. Dr. Richard Montgomery, the district superintendent, also has not returned messages and was said to be in a closed-door meeting this morning. The comments reported by Hate Watch include derogatory remarks about black students and interracial dating. Among other remarks attributed to him is a complaint about white students playing “Negro hip hop” when they drive away from school — “And this is the South, the so called most racially aware part of the United States.”
Another blog picked up a Facebook post by Holthoff on the Council of Conservative Citizens Facebook page. It appears below:
UPDATE: Dr. Montgomery called me back this afternoon.
I can verify that I’ve seen article. I am seriously concernd about what I read. I have begun an investigation of the situation. Mr. Holthoff has been suspended with pay pending the outcome of that investigation.
Our first priority is always the safety and wellbeing of our students. I’m confident the investigation will turn up the appropriate facts to make sure they are taken care of.
Montgomery confirmed that Holfthoff’s school-issued computer was now in his possession. He’s been a high school social studies teacher in Star City since 2011.
Montgomery said school employees had a right to privacy and a right to due process. “And all of have free speech rights,” he said. “But sometimes those have limitations.”
I also received an e-mail from a white female student in Holthoff’s civics class. She praised him, saying, in part: “He is not racist in any way. He loves all of us as if we were the kids he has never had, He’s a really loving person and has no reason to lie to any one.”