'LGBTQ R U 2 DUM 2 C': School trustee candidate's social media ramblings draw scorn

A candidate for Calgary public school board trustee is facing a wave of criticism for a social media post which partially blames the LGBTQ community for the weekend Edmonton attack that injured five people.

Post attracts hundreds of shares and comments, mostly critical

School trustee candidate Karen Draper is taking heat for recent Facebook posts that linked LGBTQ people with the Edmonton attack that left five injured. (City of Calgary/Facebook)

A candidate for Calgary public school board trustee is facing a wave of criticism for a social media post that partially blames the LGBTQ community for the weekend Edmonton attack that injured five people.

Karen Draper, a candidate for Wards 12 and 14, posted "LGBTQ R U 2 DUM 2 C THE TERRORIST ATTACK IN EDMONTON IS YOUR FAULT AS WELL," on Sunday just after 1 p.m. to the Facebook page linked to her official candidate profile.

Calgary school board trustee candidate Karen Draper posting this to the Facebook account attached to her candidate profile on the afternoon of Oct. 1, following an attack in Edmonton that left five people wounded. (Facebook)

The post attracted hundreds of shares and comments, mostly critical, as did a followup post made early Monday.

Draper did not respond to CBC News requests for an interview.

'Not isolated opinions'

A public education advocacy group spokesperson says she doesn't know what to make of Draper's comments.

"It's very difficult for me to rationalize or explain, because I just can't follow the logic from the [outset]," Barbara Silva of Support our Students Alberta told CBC News.

The greater danger, Silva cautioned, is that Draper may not be alone among candidates in holding extreme positions.

"These are not isolated opinions, and we need to be very vigilant when we elect people who should be supporting public education for all children, who will be in a position to support, defend, protect and promote students from all walks of life."

Most comments critical

A handful of the Facebook comments on Draper's posts are supportive, but most were not.

"You are unfit to run for public office. Please withdraw your name from the ballot. School Board Trustee is a position that represents all students," wrote one user.

Another pointed to a lack of qualifications for the position of school board trustee.

"Bigotry aside, someone who writes this poorly should definitely not be a consideration for any role in relation to schools," reads another Facebook comment.

'Fringe candidate'

An associate professor in the economics, justice and policy studies department of Mount Royal University said that perhaps raising the eligibility requirements to become a candidate might result in better options for voters.

"It is sadly not unprecedented but this particular page, the first thing you notice, this is a school trustee candidate whose posts are full of spelling and grammatical errors," Lori Williams said.

Lori Williams, associate professor of policy studies at Mount Royal University, says most people will likely see Karen Draper as a fringe candidate after this incident. (Sarah Lawrynuik/CBC)

"If you want to be an advocate for education, you'd think that maybe that sort of thing could get cleaned up."

It's difficult to imagine Draper could do well in the election, she added.

"I doubt she would have had a great chance under any circumstances, but now that this has been exposed, if anybody even reads the news coverage of it, much less her Facebook posts, she would be dismissed as a fringe candidate and somebody that is not worth the vote."

'No place for hate'

A trustee candidate was shocked to see Draper's comments.

"There is no place for hate in the role of trustee. There is no place for hate in public education," said Julie Hrdlicka, who is running for re-election in Wards 11 and 13.

Julie Hrdlicka, a trustee candidate who is running for re-election in Wards 11 and 13, says the trustee position is no place for hate. (@julie_hrdlicka/Twitter)

"When I read the comment, I thought, 'Trustees are responsible for making sure our schools are safe. If you want to spread hate and discrimination this is not the job for you.'"