Who is Brian Townsend? Utah teacher's tweet to 'kill more Republicans' sparks outrage, parents concerned
The Humanities teacher tweeted: 'I only hope that the next time a president incites a riot at the Capitol more Republican senators are killed'
Parents are demanding that a Utah high school teacher be fired after he tweeted that he wishes a president incites another riot at the United States Capitol and "more Republican senators are killed."
The controversial tweet by Brian Townsend, a humanities teacher at Parowan High School in Parowan, Utah, came on February 13, the day the Senate voted to acquit former President Donald J Trump in his second impeachment trial, the Daily Mail reported.
"I only hope that the next time a president incites a riot at the Capitol more Republican senators are killed," Townsend tweeted that day, before making his account private due to the backlash.
Seven Republican senators crossed party lines to join 50 Democrats in voting to convict Trump for allegedly inciting the unrest at the Capitol building on January 6. However, the vote count fell short of the two-thirds majority needed for conviction after 43 Republican senators voted to acquit.
It's worth noting that Mitt Romney, a senator representing Townsend's home state of Utah, was one of the seven Republicans who voted to convict the 45th POTUS.
One concerned parent shared Townsend's tweet on a Facebook group made up of Iron County public school parents on Wednesday. Lisa Sunny Carter said she became aware of the tweet after she overheard her daughter and her pals talking about it.
"I am very upset about this I hope this doesn't offend anyone but this is my 14-year-old daughter's history teacher and yes I believe in the freedom of speech but this him allowing young children to follow him where they see this bull cr** is ridiculous," Carter wrote on Facebook Thursday.
"It's another form of pushing the Socialist agenda on to our children and I really feel like he should be terminated that is my opinion because yes you don't have to agree with a politician one way or the other but to speak of violence and to speak of murder on a social media platform that your students in your classroom are reading and commenting and thinking about this is completely really upsetting me today."
"I’m shaking," Carter told Cedar City News. "Not only did he post something inappropriate, but his students can see."
Meanwhile, the Iron County School District released a statement saying it had "only recently become aware" of Townsend's social media activities. "In light of the impact on the educational process and on Iron County School District, we are reviewing with legal counsel our appropriate response and we are investigating the matter," they wrote on Wednesday. "His statements do not represent a statement or the opinions of the Iron County School District. In fact, the school district ensures that where it may be a matter of free speech we are very serious about protecting free speech."
"However, all matters that affect the educational system adversely are not protected and above all, we want to make sure that the educational process and the education for our students is protected," the school district added.
According to Carter, Townsend has been "in trouble" before the tweet. Nikell Judd, whose daughter attended the Parowan High School, was arrested in February 2020 for allegedly punching a teacher in the chest after she grew angry over the way her ward was being treated and "just snapped".
While the arrest report did not mention the name of the teacher involved, Judd later told Cedar City News that it was Townsend. The probable cause statement at the time, however, deemed that Townsend was "acting in the scope of his profession" during the incident, which took place during school hours.
Judd would eventually plead guilty in abeyance and the charges against her were eventually dismissed, according to the Daily Mail.