Days after his social media video spurred controversy, Wabash Community Schools Board Member Ryan Peter addressed the backlash.
“I am just like every other person, born with original sin and flawed," Peter said to fellow board members at Monday night's meeting. “I apologize for my language...moving forward I will be more mindful of my published content.”
Last week, Peter posted a video to his personal TikTok account in which he encouraged people to lie to the health department about contact tracing to avoid being placed in quarantine.
In the video, he also said he received many calls from parents sharing his frustrations over the ongoing pandemic.
"Well, I’ve got the solution - if you feel like you need to get tested, go get tested,” Peter said in the video. “But when they ask you who you’ve been around, you ******* lie. You are not under the penalty of perjury if you don’t tell the health department who you’ve been around. You can lie. Easter bunny and Santa Claus, that’s who you’ve been around.”
Soon after critical comments rolled in from the community, the rest of the school board released a joint comment condemning Peter's words.
“The Wabash County CUSD #348 School Board was made aware of the statements and views made on social media of one of its’ members. All of the other Board members categorically reject the statements and views made by this member and remain committed to the health and well-being of all CUSD #348 students, faculty, staff, and the entire Wabash County community.”
Then Peter responded with an initial statement of his own, defending his post:
“My videos on Tik Tok do not in any manner reflect the sentiment or thoughts of our board. Tik Tok is for nothing more than entertainment. My using the phrase “hey kids” is nothing more than the standard greeting I use at the beginning of nearly every Tik Tok to say hello to my 26,000 followers. Only if purposely taken out of context would one think I’m addressing children. Regarding the profanity and promotion of dishonesty I spoke of; I never speak this way in an open board meeting. The tone of my voice is one of passion and reflects the increasing frustration that I, as a school board member and a parent, am experiencing which are shared by the majority of the parents who call me about this situation. I field numerous calls from angry parents each week because their healthy child is continually quarantined from school. Their child’s school experience is being totally ruined. Each one of these parent’s frustration has gone beyond the boiling point. They are desperate for a solution, and they all feel like I am the only member of our board they can talk to, because I am the only one who will stand up for our kids. Although it wasn’t delivered in the most politically correct way, I provided a solution.”
After Peter read his latest statement to the board, he said despite criticism from some, he will not resign and will finish serving his term.
“I am fully aware there are people in the community who disagree with me and this is fine." Peter said. "I don’t want them silenced...but it should be known there are a lot of people in the community who agree with me.”
Then the board moved on and the video was never addressed again.
Peter said he’s since deleted his videos.