2 W.Va. school employees suspended for attending demonstrations at Capitol

Mineral Daily News-Tribune
Supporters of President Donald Trump climb on an inauguration platform on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Two employees at a West Virginia school district have been suspended with pay after they went to demonstrations in the nation’s capital to support the overturning of the presidential election.

In West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle, about an hour from Washington, the Jefferson County school district said Monday the suspensions were due to the violence that erupted at the U.S. Capitol riots last Wednesday.

“Jefferson County Schools fully supports the rights of employees and students to exercise their First Amendment freedoms, including the right to peaceably assemble and to petition the Government, but Wednesday’s protests involved violence and other unlawful conduct,” the district said in a weekend statement.

On Monday, county schools Superintendent Bondy Shay Gibson said in a letter to employees that the two workers had posted “threatening and inflammatory” messages on social media, were present at the protest march and had violated the county’s leave policy. Gibson said a meeting was scheduled to let the employees respond.

A spokesman for the school district declined to specify what type of employees were involved, saying it was a personnel matter.