Rep. Andy Harris on Thursday called for the president of a Harford County teacher’s union to resign following a social media post in which he joked about a train collision in rural Virginia involving Republican members of Congress.
Ryan Burbey, the president of the Harford County Education Association, shared a story about the collision on Facebook with the comment “Karma.” The train, which was carrying several GOP members to their annual strategy retreat, struck a garbage truck, killing one.
“I am appalled by Mr. Burbey’s decision to mock yesterday’s train crash that resulted in Christopher Foley’s death. This type of toxic, blindly partisan rhetoric is counter-productive and hateful, and it has no place in our educational system,” Harris said in a statement. “Because blatant partisanship and such stunning lack of compassion have no place in public education, he should resign immediately, and owes a sincere apology to the family of Mr. Foley, the other individual who was critically injured, and to all the citizens of Harford County whose trust he violated.”
In a lengthy statement, Burbey said he was unaware anyone was harmed when he posted the message, which he said he did on his personal Facebook account and on his own time. He took the posting down Wednesday and put up an apology in its place.
“I am sorry,” he wrote in his statement. “It was insensitive and not well-thought. As a devote Christian, I can only continue to ask forgiveness and make amends for my insensitivity. I was raised to accept responsibility for my actions. I am doing so by apologizing and learning from the incident.”
Burbey said he had no intention of resigning.
“I am stunned that Congressman Harris would not have more important issues with which to concern himself than a poorly thought, insensitive post on Facebook made by a teacher,” he said. “Mr. Harris should consider the weight of his remarks.”