School board candidate’s Facebook posts include anti-gay slurs

Granbury school board candidate and Airport Board member Mark Shackelford.
Granbury school board candidate and Airport Board member Mark Shackelford.

By Kathy Cruz —

A flirty comment posted with a photo of a young woman in a bikini.

References to “fags” and “homos.”

Posts that appear to show little empathy for sexual assault victims.

These are the Facebook posts of church-going family man and GISD school board candidate Mark Shackelford, who makes no apologies for them.

They are the same kinds of posts that could get GISD employees fired, according to GISD Public Information Officer Jeff Meador.

In an email to the Hood County News on Monday, Shackelford wrote:

“Much like our Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, I don’t have time for political correctness.”

The HCN had contacted Shackelford after seeing the posts and being contacted by others who had seen them and were offended by them.

A meeting was scheduled with Shackelford for Monday morning at the HCN, but he cancelled. The reason, he said, was that he was in Dallas with his ill father.

Instead, Shackelford provided statements about the situation via email.

The postings by Shackelford are public, viewable by anyone who visits his Facebook page – at least that was the case on Monday.

Some of the posts that some view as offensive go back several years, such as this one from Oct. 1, 2012:

“A man can spank an eight year old girl and its all good, but as soon as she’s old enough to have her first period she’s off limits??? Very strange.”

Regarding that post, Shackelford wrote: “Corporal punishment is currently allowed in Texas public schools, and I am in favor of it. As the bible (sic) says, ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child.’”

OBJECTIFYING WOMEN?

Shackelford, whose Facebook page includes images of and messages about the Confederate flag, posted this message with a photo of a young woman in a Confederate flag bikini: “I’d go fishin’ with her even on a rainy day!”

Shackelford is married and, according to the candidate form he filed with GISD, has three children.

He did not address in his email the appropriateness of posting the photo, but wrote:

“I am a proud decendent (sic) of both Union and Confederate soldiers and Generals… I will not allow the progressive left to deter my display of the Stars and Bars, be it on Facebook, my car, my clothes, or my home.”

One person who phoned the HCN and also emailed screenshots of Shackelford’s Facebook postings wrote of that post:

“I have a daughter in that district, and am more and more disgusted by ANYONE who feels so free to objectify women and be so cavalier with repulsive language.”

That person also took offense over Shackelford’s posting that “every time a girl cries ‘rape!’ does not mean that a rape actually occurred. You may hate it, but its (sic) true.”

When forwarding that posting, the person wrote: “Apparently he is an expert on rape allegations.”

In a post pertaining to media reports about an alleged sexual assault of a woman who had difficulty remembering details of the attack, Shackelford put the word ‘victim’ in quote marks and said that “a defense attorney fresh out of law school” could easily create reasonable doubt for the two accused football players.

“Not to offend anyone, but them’s the shakes,” he wrote.

FRIENDLY SKIES?

According to Shackelford’s website, he is a former pilot for United Airlines and US Airways and also is a member of a local church. He mentioned his church membership in his email to the newspaper.

In that email, he stated that, although he believes “the radical left Homosexual (sic) agenda is doing great damage to our schools, families, and communities,” he loves “all people, Homosexuals (sic) included.”

But there is this posting on his Facebook page:

“If I chose not to fly a flight full of fags, my chief pilot would find someone who would. But I would fly them. I just might make the flight a little rough, and me and my FO (first officer) would laugh our asses off while we did it!”

There are other anti-gay postings by Shackelford as well.

In a posting on July 18, 2012 in response to an article in the Dallas Morning News about a challenge to the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on gays, Shackelford wrote:

“DMN must have a bunch of gays on staff with a grudge against BSA.”

In a posting on Jan. 29, 2013 in response to another story in the DMN about the Boy Scouts controversy, Shackelford wrote:

“We have a right to private organizations that are not infiltrated by homos.”

FIREABLE OFFENSE?

The HCN, without referring to Shackelford, emailed Meador with GISD to ask what, if any, action would be taken against GISD employees who use slurs such as “fags” and “homos” in social media postings.

Meador replied that, although school district employees have free speech privileges, they are also held to a high standard.

“Derogatory terms or comments such as these could lead to a negative classroom environment for students and parents and also to a hostile workplace environment,” he replied, adding that district or campus administrators “would certainly address situations such as this with the employee.”

“Depending on the specific circumstances, there could possibly be consequences to their employment.”

POLITICS AND SOCIAL MEDIA

In his email to the HCN, Shackelford wrote: “I’m curious if you will go to the same lengths of oppo research for my political opponents.”

He has one opponent in the race for the Place 7 seat on the Granbury school board – Rhonda Rezsofi.

A check of Rezsofi’s Facebook page revealed primarily inspirational messages, photos of her children and upbeat messages about GISD.

The HCN has not been contacted by any members of the public regarding her activities on social media.

[email protected] | 817-573-7066, ext. 258