News

Actions

Superintendent of Virginia Beach City Public Schools and wife give updated response to controversial Facebook post

Superintendent of Virginia Beach City Public Schools and wife give updated response to controversial Facebook post
Posted at 9:29 PM, Jan 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-08 18:35:17-05

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Virginia Beach City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence responded to a controversial Facebook post made by his wife that was circulating online over the weekend.

In the post, Spence’s wife, Krista Kuehne Spence, shared a photo of herself with the superintendent, and wrote “Happy New Year to all! I hope this year is a wonderful one filled with love and happiness for everyone … except for Trump; he can go and [partially redacted expletive] himself.”

Nad

Facebook post made by wife of VBCPS Superintendent (News 3 viewer submission)

On Saturday, Dr. Spence addressed the post in a statement provided to News 3:

I understand some people are upset about a post my wife made on social media. I am rarely on Facebook, was not aware of the post, and was regrettably tagged without my knowledge. Her views are her own, and I apologize to those the post offended. Like everyone else, my wife is entitled to her opinion and I defend her right to free speech and self-expression. However we have discussed what this means for us as a family and for our community, and I am confident a situation like this won’t happen again.

My wife has chosen to deactivate her Facebook account, because photos of our children are being shared online in response to this posting.  I ask those who are sharing images of my children as a way to express their concern to desist immediately, as my children deserve better. Thank you.

On Wednesday, a joint statement was released from Dr. Spence and his wife, Krista Spence.

Recently concerns have been raised about a social media post written by Dr. Spence’s wife, Krista. The post contained provocative and partisan language. We understand that the post was upsetting, and that the language was offensive, and we apologize.

As his wife, I want to speak directly to our community: While Aaron has been the superintendent for over five years now and is very much the face of Virginia Beach City Public Schools, you very likely have not seen much of me during that time. That is intentional, as we try to maintain a healthy work-life balance at home, so I have devoted my time to our children and my career. These two worlds collided when I posted this message. I do want to be clear: Aaron did not make the post and he did not realize he was being tagged in it. I regret the misunderstanding that he had something to do with this, and I want to apologize to him for that.

As the Superintendent of Virginia Beach City Public Schools, I want to be clear about where I stand. While I defend my wife’s right to free speech and self-expression, it’s important to state that I don’t condone this type of language. I understand that I must serve as a role model for the students and teachers in our division and for our community as a whole and that I am judged not only by my own conduct but also by the conduct of those around me. As you can imagine, this has been a troubling time for me and my family. We have taken the opportunity to discuss and learn from each other about best practices when it comes to social media—lessons we regularly impart to the students of Virginia Beach. I know it is incumbent upon me to set the example for decorum in both public and private venues, and I can assure you this will not happen again. It is my hope that this will be instructive, not just for my own family but for all families as we think about what communication in this day and age means. What we say and where we say it matters.

Together, we want to apologize to the staff and students of Virginia Beach City Public Schools, to the members of the Virginia Beach School Board and to our community for the controversy this has created. It is our hope that we can all join in an effort to be an example of civility for one another, to be kind to one another, to think before posting on social media, and to continue to work toward making Virginia Beach the inclusive, supportive and safe community we want it to be for this and future generations.

Sincerely,

Aaron and Krista Spence