Maine school official apologizes for post about 'white Christian men with guns'

A Maine high school official who said the only terrorists Americans should fear are "domestic white 'Christian' men with easy access to guns" will not be fired, the school's superintendent told Tuesday.

Piet Lammert, vice principal of Camden Hills Regional High School in Rockport, posted the controversial remarks on his Facebook page, one day after a white lone gunman shot and killed three people and wounded nine others at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic on Nov. 27.

"The only terrorists we need to fear are domestic white 'Christian' men with easy access to guns. Vote Bernie," Lammert wrote.

After public criticism of the post -- which has since been removed -- Lammert penned an apology Nov. 29 on his Facebook page.

"I am writing to take responsibility and apologize for a post that I made on my private Facebook account yesterday," wrote Lammert. "I mistakenly left my setting open to 'Public' and in doing so made a post that offended some members of our community and beyond."

"I deeply regret doing so, take full responsibility, and hope that those I offended will accept my apology," he said. "I would also ask that those who shared my post would share my apology as well so that it reaches those who I offended but don’t personally know."

Days later, after a Muslim couple radicalized by ISIS gunned down 14 people in California, Lammert issued a second, lengthy apology for his comment on the social media site.

"With true humility, I write to apologize for the offensive statement that I recently posted on Facebook," Lammert wrote last Friday, two days after Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik opened fire at a holiday party in theInland Regional CenterinSan Bernardino, killing 14 people and injuring 21 before they were killed in a fierce gun battle with police.

"I did not intend this statement literally when I wrote it -- it was an exaggeration -- but soon after realized that it was unintentionally hurtful, offensive, and divisive at a time when more than ever we need compassion and understanding," Lammert said in his second post. "In short, I did not mean what I said and wish with all my heart that I could take it back. But I need to take responsibility for it nonetheless, because I wrote it.

"Had I simply written what I meant, the post would have reflected my urgent distress at the epidemic of mass violence in our country, which more recent events have proven to span all social groups," he continued. "Ironically, in my effort to point out that we run the risk of simplifying the problem by singling out a particular ethnic group, I did exactly that to the group to which I belong. It was careless and rash."

Lammert's apology was shared 129 times and received wide-spread support from other Facebook users.

"Piet I was one of those you truly offended if not the most offended," wrote one man. "My family is full of white Christian men with easy access to guns. My family and I have spent our lives serving our Country, people around the world and I now serve our State.

"That being said I am Christian and forgiving," the man wrote to Lammert. "You are a good man and it took courage to post this and own up to a mistake. You have my respect and trust."

"We support you Piet and I respect you for apologizing to those who were offended. I hope they are open to forgiveness," wrote another person.

Maria Libby, the superintendent of the school system, criticized the Facebook post but defended Lammert's character.

"He understands that he made a mistake and he has tried to take responsibility for that," Libby told Tuesday -- though she added, "I don’t think that everyone in the community would say it’s resolved."

"I think that there are people in the community who are quite upset over the post and may not be happy unless that assistant principal is fired," she said. 

Libby said the situation has been handled appropriately but did not provide details on what actions were taken. She said he will not be fired.

Libby described Lammert as a "caring, compassionate, open and trust-worthy" vice principal who has worked for 17 years at the school -- first as a guidance counselor.  

"He has a stellar reputation in our district," Libby said. "He has been very well loved by students and parents."