Education

A Wake school board member and a national conservative writer spar on Twitter

Wake County school board member Keith Sutton poses a question as the Wake County Board of Commissioners and the Wake County school board have a joint meeting at the Chamber of Commerce offices in downtown Raleigh, NC on March 21, 2013.
Wake County school board member Keith Sutton poses a question as the Wake County Board of Commissioners and the Wake County school board have a joint meeting at the Chamber of Commerce offices in downtown Raleigh, NC on March 21, 2013. cseward@newsobserver.com

The debate over which calendar to use at a new Wake County elementary school has gone national on social media, sparking a Twitter fight between school board member Keith Sutton and a conservative commentator and his followers.

Some parents want Buckhorn Creek Elementary School in Holly Springs to open next year on a year-round calendar, although the plan is to open it on a traditional calendar. Mark Pantano, a national conservative writer who doesn’t live in North Carolina, has backed the Holly Springs parents, producing a flurry of tweets over the weekend between him and Sutton.

Pantano sent a tweet Sunday addressed to several school board members, including Sutton, saying they better make Buckhorn Creek year-round “or face the voters wrath!”

Suttton responded to Pantano that “where in a civil democracy do you get what you desire by insulting people and threatening them...seriously?!” In another tweet, Sutton said he didn’t “believe one would generally be successful in obtaining what you so desire by calling the decision makers incompetent or stupid.”

Pantano responded with several tweets, including one telling Sutton that “suggesting that angry voters may vote against you for your decisions is not a ‘threat.’ 

“Grow up, grow a pair, and stop screwing your constituents!” Pantano added.

Several of Pantano’s supporters jumped in as well, questioning Sutton’s use of the words “civil democracy.”

Some tweets may have racial overtones. One said that the words from Sutton, who is African-American, were “all very Jesse Jackson / Don King in delivery. We must civilize, materialize, and always demonize...”’

The local parents have for the most part stayed out of the Twitter fight between Sutton and Pantano. But one parent tweeted she agreed with Sutton while adding that “the community is begging you all to address the growth in Holly Springs” by voting next week to make Buckhorn Creek a year-round school.

T. Keung Hui: 919-829-4534, @nckhui

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