Librarian under fire for Trump, Clinton cutouts mentioning deportation, 'deplorables'

A librarian at an east Texas high school has been suspended for two days without pay after she put up life-size cutouts of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at the entrance of the school library.

The cutouts had some cheeky quotes attached to the presidential candidates, which prompted some students to cry foul.

Speaking on Thursday to Fox News Latino, Longview High School librarian Linda Bailey said that she never meant to offend anyone with the cutouts, and that it was supposed to be a way to get the students involved in presidential politics while also making sure they obey the rules.

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Bailey's cutout of Republican nominee Donald Trump had a speech bubble that read, "“Sign in or you will be deported.”  The image of Democrat Hillary Clinton had a comment reading, “This is the only door to use. Only deplorables use the other door.”

Trump has called for the creation of an "army" to carry out the deportation of some 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Last month, Clinton characterized half of her rival's supporters as "deplorables" – in other words, people who are "racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic – you name it."

As word of the cutouts spread around the school and town, some of the students’ relatives took offense with the perceived political statements being made by Bailey, and, ultimately, the trustees of the Longview Independent School District voted to suspend her for five days – two without pay – during a closed-door session on Monday night.

“What the students wanted to do was something for Halloween, and they wanted to put up monster decorations,” Bailey told FNL. “What better monsters right now than Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump?”

While she took full responsibility for the uproar that followed, Bailey said students came up with the comments themselves and pointed out that the cutouts poked fun at both candidates.

“The students were laughing about it,” she said. “[They] are much more aware and cognizant of the political situation than people give them credit for.”

The school district was alerted to the cutouts after complaints were lodged and immediately ordered them to be removed.

“We regret that this situation occurred and apologize to the students, staff and members of the community offended by the display,” Assistant Superintendent Jody Clements said, according to the Longview News-Journal. “It does not represent the views or goals of Longview Independent School District.”

The Trump cutout – and the “deported” comment – was especially offensive to some in Longview’s Latino community, which makes up around 18 percent of the population.

“My nephew was upset about it, and there were several other students who were upset about it,” said Vernonica Lu, who is Hispanic and was alerted to the cutouts by her nephew. “Some students felt like they don’t belong here — like a certain race of people do not belong here.”

Before Monday night’s meeting, the school district held an open forum where José Sánchez, a local immigration attorney, aired his grievances and urged the trustees to be culturally sensitive when making their decision.

“The act of being deported is a very sensitive subject to a lot of Latinos,” Sánchez, who came to the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant while still a child, told FNL. “I don’t think [Bailey] understands the issue.”

He added that while he doesn't want Bailey to be fired or face any reprimand worse than her suspension, he wants her to apologize to the Latino community for putting up the cutouts.

For her part, Bailey said there were no racist overtones in the cutouts.

“Some people got their knickers in a wad and were offended by it,” she said. “I did not mean to offend anyone.”

She added, in reference to the reference to deportation: “People were saying it was my comment, but it wasn’t my comment. It was Trump’s.”

Follow Andrew O'Reilly on Twitter @aoreilly84.

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