Bigotry once again rears its filthy head in the Trumpiest Place On Earth, West Virginia.
On September 5, 2017, a Clay County, WV Sheriff’s Deputy and part-time bus driver named Robert Belt, dressed in his full Sheriff’s uniform, allegedly alluded to an openly gay high school student on his bus and announced over the bus PA system, “No f*ggot activity will be permitted on this bus. In my bible, it states that f*ggots will burn in hell, and I will not condone it.” The child was doing nothing more than sitting quietly, having just boarded the bus.
The Nicholas County (West Virginia) Democratic Organization released this statement on the incident, which reads in part,
“On Friday, September 8th, 2017, a Clay County high school parent learned of the incident and voiced her concerns to the Clay County High School Vice Principal, Alan Tanner. Initially, Vice Principal Tanner stated, ‘I don’t know what you are talking about,’ however, when pressed Principal Tanner said that he had reported the incident to the Clay County Director of Transportation, Jared Fitzwater.
The concerned parent discovered from the victim Leslie Osborne, Clay County school counselor, had taken three statements from students present on the bus.
Currently, Deputy Robert Belt continues to drive for the Clay County School system and is continuing to perform his official duties as Clay County Sheriff Deputy.”
Clay County officials tried to keep the story out of the public eye, but an outraged citizenry forced it somewhat into the open.
According to WSAZ, “Superintendent Joe Paxton said he first learned of the allegations when the high school reported the incident in question to the board.
The investigation is internal, therefore specific details will not be released.
Superintendent Paxton’s entire written statement reads: ‘In response to the media’s request for a statement, please know that administration is prohibited from going into detail regarding these preliminary allegations. I can state that administration is investigating the allegations, and will do so thoroughly, all while complying with applicable laws and policies that govern the process. Administration always takes allegations of this nature serious, and in doing so, administration takes the investigation serious versus rushing to prejudgment.”
The statement goes on to say: ‘Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, please know that all of our employees are expected to provide a safe and welcoming learning environment for all of our students. As the Employee Code of Conduct mandates, the school system expects all of our employees to exhibit professional behavior by showing positive examples of communication, fairness, and language. Also, as required in the Code of Conduct, the school system expects all of our employees to maintain a safe and healthy environment, free from harassment, intimidation, bullying, and free from bias and discrimination.'”
After the disastrous story out of Clay County last year about Pamela Ramsay, a nasty woman with similar behaviors and the director of a West Virginian non-profit, the Clay County Development Corp, called Michelle Obama “an ape in heels,” …was fired… reinstated… and then fired for real… Clay officials would, I am certain, prefer not to have the spotlight focus again on their hometown homophobia. Too.Damned.Bad.
Don’t let them sweep this story under their dirty rug. Share it until officials in Clay have no choice but to make sure the abuser has no access to power whatsoever. What would he do to that child if he thought no one was watching?
The idea that a child can’t even ride to a PUBLIC school without being castigated by a hateful PUBLIC servant is both heartbreaking and infuriating. Even in a bass-ackwards backwater like Clay County, WV, the light of the 21st century must finally shine.
Sign the Care2 Petition to fire Robert Belt, below: (Please give it a few seconds to load – thanks for your patience!)