Lexington principal apologizes for social media post about COVID-19 weeks after teacher dies from virus

Posted at 5:38 PM, Nov 06, 2020

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Winburn Middle School Principal Mike Hale is apologizing for a social media post he made about COVID-19, weeks after a teacher at the school died from the virus.

In the post on his personal Facebook page, Hale says sarcastically that COVID-19 cases "should drastically dissipate after January since we can’t blame Trump any longer."

Ruthie Martinez, a teacher at Winburn Middle School, died from COVID-19 last month.

"I did not intend for my statements to be divisive and I would like to apologize to anyone the post has offended," said Hale in a statement. "I know COVID is real and I meant no ill will or ill intent to anyone. I understand the gravity of the words spoken by people in leadership positions and I now realize as a leader you are always in the public eye."

The district did not say if Hale will receive any disciplinary action for the post, but Superintendent Manny Caulk did respond with the following statement:

"While I cannot comment on personnel matters, I can confirm that we are aware of the social media post and investigating the incident. I also want to assure our community that posts by individual employees do not reflect the views of our school district.

Our district continues to mourn the passing of Winburn Middle School teacher Ruthie Martinez and bus driver Eugenia Weathers due to COVID-19, and celebrate their dedication to the students of our community. It is not the position of the Fayette County Public Schools that the spread of this highly contagious virus will dissipate because of an election result. The only thing that will stop COVID-19 is strict adherence to guidance from our public health officials and/or a vaccine.

Science and social studies are key components of our core curriculum, and as such Fayette County Public Schools is guided by facts, while encouraging respectful discourse of opposing political views and supporting the First Amendment rights of students, staff and families."

Hale has been the principal at Winburn Middle School since July 2019.