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Board of Education member resigns in wake of recent ‘insensitive’ social media posts

At a press conference this morning, Union County Board of Education Chair announced the resignation of At-Large Board Member Travis Kiker following several recent insensitive posts he published on his personal social media platforms.

Mr. Kiker’s resignation is effective immediately.

Mrs. Merrell stated that the Board was united in condemning these insensitive posts saying they were “shocking” and “inappropriate”.

Also attending today’s briefing were UCPS Board members Kathy Heintel, Vice-Chair, Candice Sturdivant, District 1, and Gary Sides, District 3board members

Mr. Kiker asked Mrs. Merrell to read a statement after announcing his resignation, which she did. The full text reads:

“It is with a heavy heart that I submit my immediate resignation from the Union County Board of Education.

For one and half years, I have put the students, families, and faculty of Union County first and foremost.  All of our stakeholders have been my priority.

In light of recent events, I believe my continued service will serve as a distraction to our key priority, our 42,000 children and our 5,400 employees. I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge my utmost respect and support for our teachers.

I wish the very best to the Board, our staff, and our families.”

Kiker was elected to the Board of Education in 2018. His term was set to expire in November 2022. The Board will begin the process of filling the partisan, at-large seat by reaching out to the Union County Board of Elections this week.  

The policy explaining the process of filling vacancies on the UCPS Board of Education can be found HERE.

Before taking questions from the media, Mrs. Merrell announced the formation of the UCPS Citizens Advisory Committee on Diversity, which is an initiative that candidly addresses issues related to diversity, acceptance, and tolerance for all students. The advisory committee would be comprised of rising juniors and seniors, community members from each cluster, district administrators and employees and representatives from faith-based partners.

This advisory committee has been in the planning stages for some time with the stated goal of working collaboratively and aggressively toward ensuring that everyone feels valued and accepted in all schools and throughout Union County.

Merrell conceded that, “It’s probably going to involve some difficult and uncomfortable conversations” but she expressed confidence that working through the process would yield positive outcomes.

More information on the Citizens Advisory Committee on Diversity to include the application process is expected to be released in the near future.

To see today’s media briefing in its entirety, please click HERE.

Screenshots of the insensitive social media posts are included below.

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Posted June 29, 2020