VCSC school protection officer terminated for social media posts, retires from sheriff’s office

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — A school protection officer at Vigo County School Corporation has been terminated for inflammatory social media posts.

Vigo County School Corporation spokesperson Bill Riley on Friday confirmed Mike Anderson is no longer employed with the district; however, he declined to comment on a personnel matter.

In its termination letter to Anderson, obtained by WTWO/WAWV through a Freedom of Information request, the corporation noted “courts have recognized the abilities of school corporations and law enforcement employers in taking action to limit the harmful effects of the message communicated by the Confederate flag…”

“This letter is written at a time while protests in Terre Haute and around Indiana, the United States, and the world have taken place for nearly two months following the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and others,” the letter state.

The school referenced a meme posted by Anderson to his Facebook account that read “IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT HISTORY…THE SOUTH WAS RIGHT.” Anderson commented “total agree.”

“The School Corporation administration reasonably anticipates your post will cause disruption in the educational environment, especially as we plan a return to in-person instruction for the first time following these protests,” the termination letter explained.

Following the termination by the school corporation, Anderson also submitted his paperwork to retire from the Vigo County Sheriff’s Office, where he has been employed for 40 years.

According to Sheriff John Plasse, the sheriff’s office looked into the social media posts in questions, but said they did not violate any current department policies.

Plasse noted the department is now looking to review those policies and he expects changes to be made; however, he noted the department will take its time with the review to ensure any policy changes made do not infringe open employees’ First Amendment rights.

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