BABYLON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A hate filled post on social media may cause a Long Island worker his job.
The post was directed at a 17-year-old honor student who wears a hijab — a head covering.
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, the accomplished Lindenhurst High School senior reached the top, when the school video was posted on Facebook, someone instantly tried to cut her down.
The comment — peppered with expletives — ordered the Muslim teen to “take the trash bag off your head.”
It’s author? Andy Vita. His employer? The Town of Babylon.
“This is one really sick person that needs to be held accountable for his actions,” town supervisor Rich Schaeffer said.
Schaeffer said a strong message needs to be sent, that hate speech while it may be legal, is hurtful.
“There is going to be consequences to what you say. People have to realize when you’re posting something on Facebook of social media, it’s like putting it on a billboard on the LIE,” he said.
Vita — an equipment operator — now has no comment, and there was no response at his home or from his union.
He’s been suspended for a month without pay, and the town is seeking his termination for conduct unbecoming of a public employee.
If he remains he will be sent to sensitivity training.
Meantime the superintendent issues a graduation day statement.
“I will not allow anyone’s ignorance to taint this academic milestone for Yasmin,” he said.
The posting was widely seen locally.
“I get it, it’s free speech, but at the same time if you’re working for the town you have to portray a good example,” one resident said.
The vitriol on social media is not going unnoticed by many employers; sensitivity training is more and more in demand.
“Most work places are saying these days, we value a culture of diversity and inclusion,” Dr. John Cloverdale, President, Center for Workplace Solutions said. “The goal is always to get people to understand the impact of their words and their behavior on other people.”
Yasmin appears to have already mastered the art of empathy.
“We can’t all save the world obviously, but we can help it, even the people who have not been kind to me have taught me something I’m going to take with me,” she said.
Those, said her superintendent, are words of wisdom and grace.
The town supervisor has offered her a paid summer internship before she heads off to the University of Texas to study engineering.