UPDATE: Malvern School District said teacher Trent Bennett, accused of referring to President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama as monkeys, has resigned.
According to the school’s Facebook page, the board called a special board meeting Thursday. At the meeting, board members voted 6-0 to accept Trent Bennett’s resignation, which became effective immediately.
Bennett sent the following apology letter to news outlets:
I would like to issue an apology for the outrage and hurt feelings caused by these comments. I acknowledge that they were disrespectful and offensive. I am aware of the impact this has had, and though I negate that I have ever conducted myself in a less than professional manner in regard to my students, I have resigned my teaching position at Malvern High School. I have also removed my social media presence to prevent any future issues. I am unavailable for further statements or interviews, and humbly ask for everyone to respect the privacy of my family, friends, and former colleagues.
MALVERN, Ark — Racist comments on social media have some calling for the resignation of a Central Arkansas teacher..
The Facebook posts were allegedly written by Malvern High School teacher, Trent Bennett. The comments target President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama and have Tabitha Hughes upset.
“We’ve never had this problem before,” said Hughes.”I guess that’s why it’s disturbing to us.”
She graduated from the MHS in 1991 and said she cannot recall anything like this ever happening during her time there.
“We want something done about it,” said Hughes.
The post calls the First Lady ‘Michelle Obummer … America’s First Chimp.’
“When he put that on Facebook, boldly, that was very disturbing,” said Hughes.
When called out about his comments, Bennett referred to Mrs. Obama as ‘a nasty chimp’ and to President Obama as a ‘spider monkey.’
“Honestly, I don’t think he needs to be teaching,” said Hughes.
We went by Bennett’s house Tuesday, but only a barking dog responded.
The Malvern School District posted on its Facebook page … calling the comments ‘inappropriate,’ ‘insensitive’ and ‘in now way are the posts reflective of the district.’ Adding, the district is investigating.
“January 9th when they open back up, he don’t need to be in class,” said Hughes.
Hughes said her thoughts are now on her niece and nephew, who have Bennett as a teacher.
“A lot of kids read that. It’s very heartbreaking that they are having to go into that school and feel a certain type of way now,” said Hughes.
The President of the Arkansas State Conference of the NAACP sent Bennett an email:
Dear Mr. Bennett:
I’m Rizelle Aaron, President of the Arkansas State Conference of the NAACP. This email is in reference to you(r) alleged racially charged comments directed to our President Barack Obama and our First Lady Michelle Obama. As a disabled Marine Corps and Army Veteran I find it very disheartening that an educator such as yourself that is charged with molding the minds of our future leaders of this great country of different ethnicities, backgrounds and cultures would make such racially charged comments about our Commander in Chief and his wife.
There is no place in an educational system for someone in a public position of authority that is willing to publicly make the comments that you are alleged to have made. If In fact you have made these racially charged comments, I respectfully request your immediate resignation from the Malvern Public School District. If you’re not responsible for the racially charged comments you may disregard this message and accept my humble apology.
As in the Blevins Public School District we will do everything legally possible with all available resources to see that you are terminated or at the least resign due to you(r) actions, including rally and protest at School Board Meetings and other areas in your community.
AR State Conference of the NAACP