The president of a Maryland teachers union has come under fire for mocking the deadly crash Wednesday of an Amtrak train carrying Republican lawmakers.
Rep. Andy Harris called Thursday for the resignation of Ryan Burbey, president of the Harford County (Md.) Education Association, over a Facebook post that labeled the crash “karma.”
“This type of toxic, blindly partisan rhetoric is counter-productive and hateful, and it has no place in our educational system,” said Mr. Harris, adding that Mr. Burbey had “clearly disgraced himself.”
Mr. Harris, Maryland Republican, was not aboard the train that crashed.
An Amtrak train carrying lawmakers to a retreat in West Virginia collided with a garbage truck, killing Christopher Foley, 28, one of two passengers aboard the truck. The other passenger sustained critical injuries.
“Because blatant partisanship and such stunning lack of compassion have no place in public education, he should resign immediately, and owes a sincere apology to the family of Mr. Foley, the other individual who was critically injured, and to all the citizens of Harford County whose trust he violated,” Mr. Harris said.
Mr. Burbey apologized in another Facebook post, saying he was being “sarcastic.”
“I am sorry. I posted an insensitive comment about the GOP train wreck into the dump truck. ‘Karma’ I was being sarcastic. I did not read the article to see that anyone was hurt. It was not meant to offend anyone or make light of someone being harmed,” Mr. Burbey wrote. “I don’t want anyone to ever be hurt or killed. Those who know me know this. I took the photo down. I am sorry if you were offended. It was not a partisan smear. I found the incident ironic given that Congress has failed to fund Amtrak safety measures. I hope folks can forgive a moment of insensitivity.”
In an email to The Washington Times, Mr. Burbey said he also wanted to extend an apology to the family of Mr. Foley.
“It was insensitive and not well-thought. As a devoted Christian, I can only continue to ask forgiveness and make amends for my insensitivity,” he said.
However, Mr. Burbey said he had no intention of resigning.
“The post was made on my personal Facebook account and on my personal time. The post was not made in my capacity as HCEA President. HCEA is a non-partisan organization. We work to advocate for students, teachers and public education,” he said.
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