Mid-South superintendent stands behind controversial comments

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PALESTINE, Ark. — A Mid-South superintendent is not backing down from comments he made about how people were reacting to the novel coronavirus pandemic around the world.

The superintendent of the Palestine-Wheatley School District posted on the district’s Twitter page saying people are ‘acting like idiots’ over the pandemic.

“Where was the outrage when so many more people were dying from the flu,” Superintendent Jon Estes said. “649,000 and compared to the 5,700 worldwide according to the World Health Organization.”

Estes asked on twitter ‘Why are we canceling graduations and baseball seasons and acting like complete idiots?”

He is not backing down even as Arkansas’ Gov. Asa Hutchinson ordered all public schools to close due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“…We trust the people above us and figure they know what they’re doing,” Estes said. “We trust them to make decisions in the best interest.”

Students and staff were at Palestine High School and Elementary School, on Monday, long enough to hand out assignment packets to students who will be out of the classroom until March 30.

WREG spoke with parents who own a local business. Chris and Della Petty say they were not upset with what the superintendent said.

“If we can stop something, we need to stop it,” Chris Petty said. “Everybody’s doing the best they can. I mean, it’s a bad situation right now.”

Another resident believes Estes has the right to his opinion but could have been a little more tactful.

“Yea, it’s a bit strong,” Bryson Morris said. “I feel the same way to an extent. I mean if it’s as bad as people are really reacting, I figure I’d go buy something other than toilet paper…”

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