'I owe this community a sincere apology': D-38 school board president issues statement after an offensive photo was posted to his Facebook page

D-38 board president Matthew Clawson. Photo courtesy D-38.
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MONUMENT, Colo. (KKTV) - The school board president for District 38 issued a public apology for a picture posted to social media this past weekend.

11 News is choosing not to share the photo because it includes juveniles and we do not own the rights to the picture that has since been removed. It was shared by multiple viewers with 11 News who felt two people in the photo, appearing to be wearing fake mustaches, were performing a "Nazi salute" in a pose.

11 News reached out to D-38 for comment Tuesday morning. The following was posted to the district's website later in the day:

"I owe this community a sincere apology.

During a recent family vacation, a couple of my children participated in a birthday celebration. Sometime during the party, the children were acting silly and performing skits while wearing old Charlie Chaplin and Groucho Brothers type mustaches. The children posed and took pictures during the event. I did not see them do this. After being home from vacation for about a week, I was asked when I was going to post pictures from our vacation. I then allowed a family member to post photos to my Facebook account. After an hour or so, I reviewed the photos posted and ran across a photo that was inappropriate and offensive, and I immediately took one picture down. Although the photo was taken in children’s play and without awareness, it was nonetheless inappropriate and offensive. This type of picture has no place in our society.

The removal of the offensive picture resulted in significant family conversations. Unfortunately, the photo was on Facebook long enough for it to be viewed by a few of you in the community, despite the fact that it was removed before I was contacted by anyone expressing concern over the picture. My public service role means that my family and I are watched closely. I am sorry that we were not more sensitive to the effect this picture would bring.

I have spent decades fighting for religious freedom and the rights of all -- irrespective of race, color, or sexual orientation. I want to take this opportunity to say that I support racial equality, social justice, and equity for all. I do not support the suppression of anyone or acts of racism.

In no way do I take the example I set lightly. I am grieved that this photo may have been construed as a reflection of my beliefs. This unfortunate incident is never appropriate at any time, but during these times, it is extremely insensitive. Please accept my apology. "

Sincerely,
Matthew Clawson

It isn't clear if there will be any repercussions for the post.