National News

Florida Teacher Says Her Racist Podcast Was ‘Satire’

Posted March 7, 2018 4:18 p.m. EST

A middle school teacher in Florida who has admitted hosting a white nationalist podcast has been removed from her classroom as officials investigate whether she is really a racist.

Officials at the Citrus County School District, about 80 miles north of Tampa, Florida, said they were made aware of the podcast, called “Unapologetic,” last week after being contacted by HuffPost. The news website reported on Saturday that the teacher, Dayanna Volitich, was connected to the podcast.

Although the podcast and a Twitter account — which Volitich operated under the pseudonym “Tiana Dalichov” — appear to have been taken off the internet, the HuffPost report included a recording of the podcast and screenshots of tweets she sent.

On the podcast, she argues that “science” has proved that certain races are smarter than others and brags about preaching white nationalism in her classroom — and hiding it from administrators. In tweets, she makes reference to the “horrors of #Islam,” attacks the concept of white privilege and says that it isn’t “hateful or supremacist to prefer your own people over others.”

In a statement on Tuesday, Volitich, 25, admitted to using a pseudonym on social media and on the podcast, but insisted she was not a white nationalist. She said she had not allowed her political beliefs to seep into the way she teaches social studies.

“I employed political satire and exaggeration, mainly to the end of attracting listeners and followers, and generating conversation about the content discussed between myself and my guests,” Volitich said in a statement provided by her lawyer, Charles E. Moore Jr. “The views ‘Tiana Dalichov’ espouses do not pervade my professional career.”

“As an adult, my decisions are my own, and my family has nothing whatsoever to do with my social media accounts or my podcast,” she continued. “From them, I humbly ask for forgiveness, as it was never my intention to cause them grief while engaging in a hobby on my personal time.”

School officials called the podcast “concerning” and said an investigation was initiated immediately after they were contacted by HuffPost; the teacher involved was also “removed from the classroom,” they said.

Michael P. Mullen, an assistant superintendent, confirmed in an email Tuesday that the teacher involved was Volitich, who is listed online as a social studies teacher at Crystal River Middle School.

School district officials said they could not provide additional comment until their investigation was completed. It was not clear when that would be.

The most recent data available from the Florida Department of Education shows that during the 2015-16 school year, about 88 percent of Crystal River Middle School’s students were white.