Sandy Creek principal replaced after denouncing district’s ‘MAGA hat-wearing culture’

Emily Wemmer has been replaced as Sandy Creek High School principal following social media comments critical of the district.

Emily Wemmer has been replaced as Sandy Creek High School principal following social media comments critical of the district. (Provided photo)

Sandy Creek, N.Y. — Sandy Creek High School principal Emily Wemmer, who caused a stir when she commented on social media about a “conservative, MAGA hat-wearing culture” in her district and the treatment of girls and women, has been replaced as principal.

Sandy Creek Superintendent Kyle Faulkner said Tuesday that the Board of Education has appointed retired high school principal Maureen Shiel as interim principal.

Faulkner declined to comment on Wemmer’s status with the Oswego County school district or whether she could return as principal, saying it was a “personnel matter.” The district’s website still listed Wemmer, complete with her picture, as principal on Tuesday.

Wemmer caused an uproar among some parents last month with comments she made on Facebook. In one comment, she complained about how women and girls were treated in the district. Other parents came to her defense, saying she was speaking up for her students.

“This is a VERY traditional, conservative district,” Wemmer wrote in one post. “I have learned myself that men feel totally entitled to manhandle women whenever. Girls are also expected to be passive. If I don’t teach my girls anything else I hope that it is that they can live independently and choose if they want to be in a relationship or not. The mama bear comes out in me when I hear reports of abuse like I heard today.”

In another post, she said “fathers of students will often try to intimidate me physically.”

“Even some male students will try the intimidation BS,” she said, adding, “I’ve been asked if I’m a lesbian or married as if those are the only possibilities for a woman.”

In another post, Wemmer wrote “it’s hard when you’re fighting against an intrenched [sic] conservative, MAGA hat-wearing culture.” MAGA is short for President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.” He and his supporters often wear hats with the slogan at his rallies.

Wemmer also wrote, “I am also responsible for the boys, and need to be their advocate. I need to figure out ways to teach them what’s appropriate before it becomes a legal issue….”

She later apologized in a statement posted on the district’s web site, saying her comments were misinterpreted as being disparaging and disrespectful to the Sandy Creek community. She said she was just trying to empower her female students.

Wemmer also said the comments were private, but that her account had been hacked and the comments became public.

Faulkner said the Board of Education voted Thursday night to appoint Shiel interim principal. He confirmed the appointment Tuesday.

Shiel served as the school’s principal from January 1996 until she retired in October 2016.

Wemmer, who was an English teacher in the Albion Central School District in Orleans County, was appointed high school principal by the Sandy Creek Board of Education in May 2017 and started the job in July of that year.

Wemmer previously has not responded to inquiries from Syracuse.com | The Post-Standard seeking comment.

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