School board member apologizes for ‘retarded’ tweet

Amid mounting criticism. Williamson County school board member Susan Curlee apologized Monday night for a controversial tweet that contained the word “retarded,” reports The Tennessean.

Curlee tweeted what some saw as an offensive definition of the word “twit” two weeks ago. The Urban Dictionary definition reads, “The kind of person that makes a retarded chimp look smart.”

The reference, according to Curlee’s tweet, was a critique of a parent’s Twitter handle. Parents and disability groups said Curlee’s decision to use a definition with the word “retarded” was insensitive to students with special needs.

“I am sorry that a word contained in a definition that was tweeted offended our special needs community,” Curlee said at Monday’s school board meeting. “That was never my intent. And I’m so sorry, and I hope that you accept my apology.”

…Public speakers at the board meeting welcomed Curlee’s apology but also spoke of their frustrations that an elected official would use a definition with the word “retarded.” Some speakers asked for a social media policy.

“One school board member’s social media use has been scandalous enough that it has been covered by the press,” said WCS parent Sara Melamed.

A social media policy should stress the importance of sensitivity to different points of view, said Melamed. It would also set parameters for when comments are deleted from a school board member’s social media account, she said.

…efore the board meeting, parents rallied in protest of Curlee’s tweet.