Update: Joshua Hitson resigned from his position. His resignation was approved by the Fayette County Board of Education at the Monday, Aug. 21 meeting.
The ugliness that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend spread across the world as white nationalists from multiple hate groups marched in solidarity, denouncing minority groups and stirring up violence. The movement, which was the largest such gathering in decades, served as a reminder of the amount and intensity of hate in America. It also raised questions of who are these individuals, where did they come from, and what is their background.
One group, the Atlanta Anti-Fascists, which the Southern Poverty Law Center described as a “far-left” group, released a post on social media following the Charlottesville protests of pictures of six Atlanta area residents. The post was titled “Meet Your Local Racists.” The top left image detailed a man named Joshua David Hitson, a ninth grade English teacher at Whitewater High School. The Atlanta Anti-Fascist website compiled a 189-page dossier of Hitson a few days before the Charlottesville violence broke out.
In the article, the website calls Hitson a “white power agitator,” detailing his involvement in “racist allegiances.” The dossier details Hitson’s past Twitter posts and stories to back up calling him a white nationalist.
It’s still uncertain the credibility of the Atlanta-based “Antifa” group’s claims. Calls to the group went unreturned Tuesday. Earlier this year, the Atlanta Anti-Fascists covered Inman Park with posters of a man they believed was a racist. The Atlanta Police ended up investigating the Antifa to find out who was responsible for placing all the posters around town. In a story earlier this year, the SPLC defined Antifa groups as those who sometimes resort to “espousing violence as a means of opposing far-right political organization.”
Even if what the Antifa has written about Hitson was unfounded, the school still says it is taking the situation seriously.
Whitewater High School hasn’t said outright that the allegations against Hitson, who is listed as a ninth grade English teacher on the school’s website, are false. The school did not comment on Hitson. An email to Hitson requesting comment went unreturned. The only response on the matter came from Fayette County Board of Education public relations specialist Melinda Berry-Dreisbach, who did not return a phone call but instead issued the following statement via email:
“We are aware of the situation at Whitewater High and are looking into it. So far, we have not found legitimate evidence to support the claims being made. If the school system determines there is legitimate evidence to support any of the claims, appropriate action will be taken.”