Update 11/2/2017: It appears The Citizen has now restored Roy Rabold’s letter to the editor, in which Rabold denies Joshua Hitson’s history of white power agitation.
Update 9/7/2017: The Citizen newspaper has now removed Roy Rabold’s September 5, 2017 letter to the editor from its website. The letter is archived here. The Citizen‘s September 6 article based on Rabold’s letter is still up, but comments have now been disabled.
Former Whitewater High School Principal Roy A. Rabold harms his own reputation with his letter to The Citizen: “Hitson’s principal decries Antifa slurs” (September 5, 2017).
Mr. Rabold uses the word “supremist,” a term that does not exist in the English language. Any spell checker would have caught the error. Sadly, Mr. Rabold takes a similarly cavalier approach to facts.
It is understandable that The Citizen views Mr. Rabold’s letter as newsworthy. Until Mr. Rabold’s retirement as Principal of Whitewater High School, Rabold kept racist Joshua David Hitson employed as an English teacher at the school. Mr. Rabold is therefore an important part of the story. However, we question The Citizen running an article that amplifies Mr. Rabold’s rhetoric of “social terrorism” without offering any counterpoint from anti-racists.
Let’s recap what happened. In May 2017, Atlanta Antifascists revealed that Joshua David Hitson – at the time of our exposé an English teacher at Whitewater – wrote for a white nationalist website as “J.D. Hitson,” issued a stream of racist propaganda under a Twitter pseudonym, and had been photographed at a 2016 white power gathering. Mr. Rabold did not believe, writing: “The evidence on the website is inaccurate. It is being promoted by the Antifa.”
Later, Whitewater High School – under a new Principal — as well as Fayette County Schools refused to acknowledge evidence about Mr. Hitson. So, we issued a 180+ page dossier in early August to further support our claims. Anyone interested can read this documentation and make up their own mind.
The dossier eventually led to public outcry and the start of an official investigation. However even then Fayette County Schools took a page from Mr. Rabold’s book, with Fayette County Schools public relations specialist Melinda Berry-Dreisbach writing that “So far, we have not found legitimate evidence to support the claims being made.” Hitson eventually quit Whitewater.
Mr. Rabold in his letter claims that “I never had a complaint about his [Joshua David Hitson’s] teaching nor any problems with his relationship or rapport with students or parents.” In January 2015, students publicly raised the issue of Mr. Hitson’s social media posts, including one post hailing the Confederacy.
Mr. Rabold is similarly misleading when he claims “Antifa has decided what he [Mr. Hitson] allegedly stands for in his personal life.” Published statements and concerted political activity are not “personal” issues. Mr. Hitson’s life story before he became a vocal white nationalist is largely irrelevant, although Mr. Rabold brings it up to muddy the waters. (We do not believe Mr. Hitson was a white nationalist when he started teaching in 2011, although he certainly was by 2014.) Mr. Rabold asks: “Where were they [Atlanta Antifascists] previously?” as if raising the matter earlier would have made a difference to his response.
Mr. Rabold even claims that our organization stated Mr. Hitson is “allegedly” a Hitler-praising white nationalist. That’s wrong. The “allegedly” language is from The Citizen.
Even neo-Nazis planning violence at Charlottesville VA knew the score, with one of them complaining that “they [Atlanta Antifascists] are really pissing me off, they are still tweeting about contrarian [sic] trying to get him fired.” Joshua Hitson used the handle “Contrarian Gent” on Twitter. The neo-Nazi comment makes no sense unless the author knew Hitson as “Contrarian.”
It is unfortunate that Mr. Rabold has chosen to respond to compelling evidence with misleading and irrelevant claims, as well as a bogus victim narrative – that the real problem is people not being polite enough when Mr. Rabold failed to show leadership or engage with reality. With his new letter, Mr. Rabold brings further shame to himself, to Whitewater, and to Fayette County Schools. Somewhere, there is a lesson to be learned from all this.