School trustee unrepentant after calling students 'twerps' on Twitter
A Toronto School Board Trustee is unapologetic after calling students at one local school “ill-bred twerps” on Twitter.
Trustee Sam Sotiropoulos tweeted Wednesday after witnessing an incident between students and a principal at a Scarborough school.
In the tweet, the trustee wrote: “Had some eye opening experiences at one of our schools yesterday with a couple out of control youth. Seriously ill-bred twerps.”
Now his choice of words and the platform he chose to voice them has students reacting.
“I don’t think it’s professional at all,” said student Chris James. “I think it’s sort of ignorant of him to say that … tweet it of all things.”
But Sotiropoulos would not apologize and says he never intended to offend anyone with his comments. Instead, he said he only wanted to show his support for what teachers have to face every single day.
Sotiropoulos read a statement from the TDSB head offices to further explain his actions. According to the rookie trustee, he took to Twitter after a student started to act up and tried to damage school property.
“When the student in question was confronted about their behaviour, the torrent of taunts, profanity and abuse that was their response is something no TDSB employee, student or parent should be asked to disregard or ignore,” he said.
But not everyone at the TDSB agrees with him.
TDSB vice chair Shaun Chen told CTV Toronto that the newly elected trustee could face sanctions.
“It’s not appropriate for an official of the board to make such comments about students and to do it in a public forum,” said Chen.
When asked about the tweet, one trustee said she wanted to "disassociate herself from the comments." Others were shocked and said the comments were "unfortunate" and an example of why one needs to think before speaking, and especially before tweeting.
However some students said that while Sotiropoulos’ actions were unprofessional, he may just be telling the truth.
“That’s not a professional thing to tweet, but if he thought they were brats they probably did something,” said student Sam Farhan.
While the tweet calling the students ‘twerps’ had been deleted from Sotiropoulos’ account by Wednesday evening, others from Wednesday remained.
“The principal & vice basically threw their hands in the air & confessed helplessness while the brats knew the drill: ‘Don't touch me!’” read another tweet. “When I was their age, no student dared to spout profanities at teachers/principals and walk away when spoken to.. it never happened.”
Throughout the day, Sotiropoulos also reposted messages from people praising him for speaking his mind.
With a report from CTV Toronto’s Naomi Parness