Concord schools release statement about golf coach, RFRA Twitter threat

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By: Anne Christnovich achristnovich@elkharttruth.com

(Photo supplied/Elkhart Truth)

After Concord High School golf coach Jessica Dooley posted a controversial tweet, inviting the public to “burn down” a Walkerton, Ind. pizzeria for saying it would not cater a same-sex wedding, the district posted a statement to its website Friday, April 3.

Dooley’s tweet was posted April 1 and referred to Memories Pizza. An owner of the business, Crystal O’Connor, was featured on an ABC57 newscast the night before, saying that the business supports the recently passed Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

O’Connor also noted that they wouldn’t turn away customers who identify with the LGBT community but said they wouldn’t cater a same-sex wedding.

Here’s the full statement posted on the district’s website:

“As an educational institution, Concord Community Schools believes that the exchange of differing ideas, concepts, and principles is a valuable and meaningful part of the educational process. It is not necessary that everyone agree with every idea offered. It is, however, both critically important and absolutely necessary that the expression of any idea comport with the minimum expectations established by federal and state laws. The active promotion of illegal violence cannot be permitted.

On March 31st, Jessica Dooley, a Concord High School athletic coach stepped outside that boundary, when on her Twitter feed she advocated for the burning down of a business located in neighboring St. Joseph County. That feed is followed by many Concord High School students, including athletes on her teams. Ms. Dooley admitted making this statement and she was suspended without pay pending the completion of Concord Community Schools’ investigation. Law enforcement authorities are also investigating this matter.

The promotion of illegal and violent conduct by one of its employees is a serious matter that Concord Community Schools must address and appropriately discipline.”

Dooley deleted her Twitter account shortly after the tweet was posted but screen shots circulated the Internet and national media outlets, including CNN and Glenn Beck

Since the story broadcast Tuesday night, March 31, the shop has been closed, and Crystal O’Connor and her family have been in hiding due to threats. O’Connor said Friday they believe they’ll be able to open the shop again “soon,” as reported by 95.3 MNC.

The St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office declined to initially file charges but they haven’t made a final decision yet, pending further investigation.

A GoFundMe page set up Wednesday, April 1, by conservative news outlet TheBlaze TV raised more than $850,000 for the family as of 7:45 p.m. Friday, 95.3 MNC reported.

This story originally was published on elkharttruth.com and appears here with permission.