Cordova High School principal put on leave after comments he reportedly made on SCS virtual learning platform

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The principal at Cordova High School is on paid administrative leave after comments he reportedly made over SCS’s virtual learning platform.

During Principal Barton Thorne’s remarks, a little more than nine minutes long, he commented on freedom of speech zeroing in on social media platforms who have blocked President Trump.

“The principal at Cordova High School has been placed on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of the review of the comments that were made,” Jerrica Phillips said.

While Shelby County Schools would not discuss specific remarks reportedly made Monday by Cordova High School Principal Barton Thorne during a homeroom video. The audio of Thorne’s remarks, which lasts a little more than nine minutes long, was obtained by WREG-TV.

While Throne was critical of the riots at the Capitol, he objected to actions taken by several social media platforms.

“It’s what’s going on with Twitter and Facebook and Google and Apple, and their decision as private companies to filter and to decide what you, you hear and know about,” Throne said in the recording.

Thorne, who’s been principal at Cordova High School for about three years reportedly made the remarks during the video, which went out to Cordova High students. Thorne stressed his comments weren’t about President Trump, but more so about freedom of speech.

“Because there have been times even in American history where a small group of people decided what you could hear. You think about “McCarthyism.” If you don’t know about that, you can Google that or talk to your Social Studies teacher,” Thorne said in the recording.

Statement from Barton Thorne via email

SCS is reviewing Thorne’s comments, which come as SCS is working to keep students informed about recent political and social events.

“To my understanding it was a recording that was shared on our virtual platforms with the schools we use microsoft teams,” Phillips said. “I’ll have to learn more about whether or not it was an opening school message or how exactly it went out or what time of day.”

The comments come at a time when SCS is working to help staff realize there’s a right way and wrong way to address political beliefs and ideas.

“Emotionally charged situations, we have to sometimes temper back, recalibrate, think about the message we’re sending to our student,” Michael Lowe, of the SCS Office of Equity and Access, said. “Because Cordova is like the City of Memphis, it’s made up of a salad bowl of many different students of all areas of Memphis.”

We were unable to reach Thorne for comment.

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