The School District of Indian River County issued an apology after a website post highlighting a Confederate general, instead of a black history figure, during what his traditionally known as Black History Month.
Officials said the post was unintentional and wholly unacceptable.
“As part of our efforts to highlight Black History Month, we have been posting information about significant events in Black History, and information about individuals who have made a significant contribution to Black History,” officials said. “Our webmaster inadvertently posted a reference to Albert Sidney Johnston. The employee utilized information from a website that is reported to contain facts about black history. However, the reference to this individual was inappropriate.”
Johnston, a white Confederate general, was the highest ranking general killed during the Civil War. Johnston was shot in the back of the knee and bled to death while fighting Union soldiers in 1862 during the Battle of Shiloh.
The website post, created Feb. 2, was noticed by the members of the NAACP chapter of Indian River County this past weekend, according to Chapter President Tony Brown. School District officials said an employee got the information on Johnston from a third party website and posted it to the District site without properly researching the details.
School officials removed the post once it was brought to their attention. Brown said school officials will be working with the NAACP in vetting any information related to Black History Month that will appear on the District’s website.
Brown said NAACP members spotted the post, which didn’t have a picture of Johnston, on Sunday, researched it and then contacted the School District. He said the error appears unintentional and that he felt Superintendent Mark Rendell was generally concerned and apologetic.
“For now, we’re satisfied,” Brown said. “We’re all human and mistakes are made.”
A few months back, the local NAACP chapter urged local schools to ban Confederate flag paraphernalia after students wore the clothing at Vero Beach High School.
Even though it appears unintentional, having an online post about a Confederate general during Black History Month is “like putting gasoline on a fire,” Brown said.
“It’s self-explanatory; it’s offensive,” Brown said. “It can be perceived as an insult to an African American.”
School officials had no further comment.