Local News

Teacher in YouTube video remains on job

Posted November 17, 2008 12:31 p.m. EST

— A Cumberland County teacher shown in an online video telling a student her father might be deployed for years because the family supported John McCain for president remains on the job, officials said Monday.

Superintendent William Harrison has completed his investigation of the incident, but details weren't released, school district spokeswoman Wanda McPhaul said.

A Scandinavian film crew making a documentary last spring on support for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama captured Mary McArthur Elementary School teacher Diatha Harris talking to her fifth-grade students about Obama and McCain.

When student Cathy Thompson said she was backing McCain because her parents were, Harris responded, "Oh Lord." She later called the war in Iraq "senseless" and told Cathy that McCain planned to keep U.S. troops in Iraq for 100 years, if necessary.

The video was posted on YouTube.com, and some bloggers called for Harris to be fired.

Harris, who has taught for 27 years and has been with Cumberland County Schools for four years, apologized for her comment to Cathy but said her statements were taken out of context and were edited to make her look bad.

Cathy's mother, Angela Moore, said neither she nor her daughter were upset by Harris' comments.