A high school athletics administrator has apologized for posting a racially charged photo on Facebook, yet remains under investigation over the incident.
Jody Hilley, athletic director at Lakeside High School in Evans, Ga., says that in February he posted a set of golf clubs to the community "Columbia County Yard Sale" and noticed after the fact that a photo attached depicted a black man dressed as a KKK member and claiming black people have killed more African-Americans in a six-month span than the KKK has in 86 years. Hilley, who deleted the post within a minute of discovering what he calls the "mistake," says he has no idea where it came from or how it was attached to his post. He then deleted the image from his photos and apologized.
“Over the course of my 33-year career, I have developed hundreds of meaningful relationships with students of every color, religion and sexual preference because I truly love the kids that I teach as people, not just as students,” he said in the statement Tuesday, as reported by The Augusta Chronicle.
“It has never been nor will it ever be my intent to hurt or disrespect anyone. For those who truly know me, they can attest to my character. Most importantly, God knows my heart and my every intention. I have learned a very valuable lesson in all of this and, again, I apologize deeply.”
According to the Chronicle, Hilley has worked at the school for the past 12 years, serving as a head coach for multiple sports and an assistant coach for others. He became athletic director in the 2014-15 school year and currently teaches PE/Health at the school.
Columbia County School District superintendent Sandra Carraway said in a statement that the district was made aware of the post Sunday afternoon. Though it appreciates Hilley’s remorse, the district still plans to investigate the matter and address it appropriately.
“We find the sharing of such posts completely appalling, unacceptable and inappropriate, especially for an educator,” the statement reads. “We want only the very best for our students and work diligently to provide a safe, positive learning environment for all. This type of behavior detracts from that goal, and, as such, it will not be tolerated.”