SEAL BEACH (CNS) - McGaugh Elementary Scool principal Roni Burns-Ellis finds herself under scrutiny today -- not all of it positive -- over a Facebook post condemning Nike for its decision to run an ad campaign focusing on dissenting quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Above her photo of a Nike T-shirt cut into pieces, Burns-Ellis wrote on her personal Facebook page: “My newest rag! When Nike signs an anti- American thug to represent their brand, I will not support, wear, purchase or endorse their product.”
By Wednesday afternoon, more than 200 people had signed a petition on Change.org demanding Los Alamitos Unified School leaders “act civilly,” the Orange County Register reported.
“As our country has become divided and name calling and hate have become normalized, we were particularly disheartened by her comment on Facebook,” the petition reads, according to the newspaper. The post has since been removed.
Seal Beach resident Steve Miller, whose daughter attends McGaugh, said that when he learned about the principal's post he “walked straight to the school to confront her face-to-face.
“I was outraged, said Miller, a real estate agent. “She wasn't there, which is probably good because I would have said the wrong things.”
Miller took offense at two words in particular, he said.
“Thug is a racist comment. And to call someone un-American for peacefully protesting? Protesting is about as American as it gets.”
Kaepernick has come under fire, most famously, in tweets by President Donald Trump, for taking a knee during the national anthem at football games to protest police brutality against African Americans.
“Even if the principal doesn't agree with the ad, she is in a public position paid for by taxpayers,” Miller told the Register. “Leaders in charge of our children need to have higher standards.”
Other parents, however, support Burns-Ellis just as passionately.
“Nike is the one that's in the wrong,” Seal Beach homemaker Aimee Barber, who has two children at McGaugh, told the Register. “She's teaching our kids to respect the country we live in.”
Los Alamitos Unified School District Superintendent Sherry Kropp told the Register that Burns-Ellis's stance does not reflect the district's
“One person's personal opinion on a personal Facebook page does not represent the values of our district,” she said.
“We've worked really hard to be inclusive and we care about each and every one of our kids,” Kropp said. “What we don*t want, then, is somebody posting something that, right or wrong, undermines our great work.”
She added that Burns-Ellis is a “spectacular principal” bu that “doesn't mean I don't take the concerns of upset parents seriously.
“I'm sick about it,” she said.