Some members of the Hingham High School community expressed their concerns about the post, which got the attention of school leaders.
“They were perceived by a number of readers as inappropriate at best and possibly homophobic,” Superintendent Dorothy Galo said in a statement.
Galo said she and Principal Rick Swanson were disappointed by Rice’s lapse in judgment. She called Rice a respected teacher and noted the high school faculty and students made great strides this school year to create a more welcoming and respectful environment for all students.
“I know that apologies can't erase the upset that individuals reading the posts may have felt or the resulting negative attention to our school's culture and climate that so many students and staff have worked hard to improve,” Galo said.
Swanson sent a letter to students, parents and teachers on Thursday to address the controversy.
Swanson’s letter read, in part, “In apologizing to me (Wednesday) night, and to his students [Thursday], this teacher acknowledged a ‘very poor choice of words’ that failed to convey the message he had intended to deliver.”
Included in the letter was an apology from Rice. "I am truly sorry for making a statement that clearly offended and hurt people,” he said. “I respect and value all of my students, and I deeply regret making statements that might suggest otherwise."
Galo said she acknowledges Rice’s “sincere and prompt response by removing the objectionable posts and taking full responsibility for trying to mitigate the unintended emotional harm that has resulted.”