Star City teacher being investigated by school district for alleged racist postings
By Elicia Dover
(KATV)-Star City School District teacher Philip Holthoff has been suspended with pay and under investigation by the district Friday after he allegedly made racist comments on a white supremacist website. The Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization which identifies hate groups, says they've been keeping their eye on the website called "Stormfront" whose slogan is "white pride world-wide." The SPLC says they identified Star City teacher Philip Holthoff as posting racist comments on the site under a pseudonym, "David Lee Saxon." "I teach social studies in a public high school and I am racially conscious," wrote poster David Lee Saxon. The SPLC says they were able to identify Holthoff's connection to the website by a donation. "Mr. Holthoff gave money on April 20th to the site so we were taking a closer look at him and that's how he came up as a donor on Stormfront," said Heidi Beirich of the SPLC. Beirich says she reached out to Holthoff before publishing his alleged connection to Stormfront. "He was using a pseudonym online, David Lee Saxon, but by looking at all of the posts by Saxon, it's very easy to figure out that this is Philip Holthoff, which he confirmed in a conversation to me," Beirich said. In one post, "Saxon" discusses black parents at high school graduation negatively and also seems to have a problem with interracial dating of his students saying among other posts, "I know of cases where they go to prom together and the white parent does not have a problem with it." "It's just one demeaning, rude, racist thing after another. It is really vile stuff he has posted on Stormfront," Beirich said. In a Facebook post believed to be written by Holthoff, he tells of his conversation with the SPLC and complained his computer has been taken by the district. Star City Superintendent Dr. Richard Montgomery confirmed Holthoff's suspension. "There are some allegations posted about him that I believe have become pretty open and notorious over the last day or two. And those allegations do contain some elements of great concern to us. Our first obligation is always to the safety, health and well being of our students," Montgomery said. Holthoff did not return Channel 7 News' request for comment.
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