FAIRBORN — An independent investigation found a Fairborn teacher in violation of school board policy as pertains to his comments on social media and in-classroom conduct.
Mike Blandino, who teaches finance and served as an assistant football coach, has been under investigation since June for posts made on both his personal account and on the account of the Skyhawk Yearbook club.
The investigation, conducted by attorney Jessica L. Branner, Esq., reviewed a total of three alleged incidents from Blandino’s personal social media, and three from the Skyhawks Yearbook Twitter account. The posts range in date from May 2020 to November 2012.
The investigation also included interviews from more than a dozen students who registered sexual harassment and racial discrimination complaints against the Fairborn teacher. The investigation did not find a preponderance of evidence that he targeted female students or students of color in his teaching.
Blandino originally came under fire for posting a Facebook comment under a user who had stated President Trump “called black people ‘Thugs’.” Blandino responded, “Just because he speaks the truth you all can’t stand it. Take your blinders off.”
In a written response to the investigation, Blandino said, “[A]n opinion on a social media page (a misquote of our President) – where I supported our standing President (NOT a political candidate) has deemed me a racist.”
Further investigation of Blandino’s social media activity found other remarks that were not in line with school board policy. On May 5, Blandino allegedly tweeted “hang all 3” in reference to a news headline in which three black individuals were charged in the shooting death of a security guard. The report also referenced a post Blandino supposedly made in 2013 about the daughters of President Obama.
Blandino elected not to comment on the investigation about either of those posts.
The investigation showed that in November 2012, Blandino tweeted twice from the Skyhawk Yearbook club account. The Skyhawks Yearbook post reads “don’t listen to it. Or is Obama paying you to sit on your ass. [sic].” The post was in response to an account who complained about Twitter user “@talkmaster” (@Talkmaster is the twitter handle of talk show host Neal Boortz). Blandino also reportedly commented “get over it” from the same account to a woman who made remarks about her late husband.
On April 29, the Skyhawk Yearbook account reportedly tweeted “me me me mentality” in response to a post that reads, in all caps, “I’m a black girl from the hood with a full ride to the 14th top college in America. This is not going viral though…”
Blandino acknowledged in the investigation that he was indeed the author of the three Skyhawk Yearbook tweets. However, he maintains that the posts from that account were unintentional.
Blandino’s tweets from the Skyhawk Yearbook account were found to violate several board policies. According to the district’s “Technology Privacy” policy, Fairborn’s digital resources, including club accounts, “are to be used only for business and educational purposes.”
Additionally, Blandino’s comments on his personal page were found to violate district policy on “Staff Technology Acceptable Use,” as well as district policy on anti-harassment.
District policy on social media states that staff’s online comments should reflect their professional responsibilities. The clause reads, in part, “While the Board respects its employees’ First Amendment rights, those rights do not include permission to post inflammatory comments that could compromise the District’s mission, undermine staff relationships, or cause a substantial disruption to the school environment.”
Superintendent Gene Lolli could not be reached for comment as of press time.