Pennsylvania teacher's aide said Obama would be shot
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Tuesday November 11, 2008

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The mother of a sixteen-year-old student in the Allison Park suburb of Pittsburgh was shocked when her daughter repeated disparaging remarks made about Barack Obama by a teacher's aide at her vocational high school.

"One of the teacher's aides ... said that Obama was going to be shot and killed," Mara Gilligan told KDKA News. "And that our flag is going to be the KFC [Kentucky Fried Chicken] flag and that the new national anthem will be 'Moving On Up' -- and that all my daughter's beliefs were wrong and her children's lives were going to be ruined because Obama was elected."

Gilligan, who is white, said that her biracial daughter took the comments personally. "Being biracial, she was overjoyed that someone of color was elected, and she was so happy and excited to come to school. And for this teacher to yell these things at her and her fellow classmates was just unbelievable."

A teacher at the A.W. Beattie Career Center who overheard the comments filed a complaint with the principal, and Gilligan has since received an email from the administrative director saying the aide would be suspended and disciplined. However, the school would not comment to KDKA on the story.

"You don't have to yell at other people, especially our youth that are excited about the election," Gilligan concluded. "I mean, anybody should want that to happen, especially a teacher, and for you to destroy that joy that they have because of an election is terrible."

Southwestern Pennsylvania was repeatedly cited during the presidential campaign as a stronghold of racist attitudes, and even Rep. John Murtha, who represents a district east of Pittsburgh, aroused controversy when he referred to many of his own constituents as racists.

Two organizations which have been described as explicitly racist appear to be located in Allison Park, where the incident occurred -- the American National Union, which has its mailing address there, and a chapter of the Citizens Councils of America.

The KDKA News story is available here.

This video is from KDKA, broadcast Nov. 10, 2008.

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