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Sen. Mike Lee apologizes for comments critical of Edgemont Elementary

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 28: Senator Mike Lee speaks during #JusticReformNow Capitol Hill Advocacy Day at Russell Senate Office Building on April 28, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah — Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, apologized after posting comments on social media critical of a Utah elementary school’s COVID-19 precautions. 

Provo’s Edgemont Elementary School posted a photo of kids in masks sitting at their plexiglass-shielded desks on Instagram.

The caption read, “Kids are ready to learn with their new power shields- ready to be superhero learners (with masks and shields).” 

Lee Edgemont Elementary

Edgemont Elementary welcoming students back into a safe learning environment. (Photo Credit: Edgemont Elementary School Instagram account)

Many saw Lee’s response to the Instagram post as mocking their safety and precaution efforts. In a comment, he replied, “Power shields in Provo. Good idea? Or worst euphemism in history?” 

Lee Edgemont Elementary

Sen. Mike Lee commented on Edgemont Elementary’s Instagram post. (Photo Credit: Erin Goodsell)

The senator also tweeted about the Edgemont Elementary photo, writing, “‘Power shields’ in Provo. Does this look like a fun way to learn?”. 

Lee Edgemont Elementary

The tweet Sen. Mike Lee sent out responding to the safety precautions at Edgemont Elementary (Photo Credit: Senator Mike Lee Twitter account)

These comments and posts got the attention of many Edgemont Elementary parents, who decided to take action. One parent, Erin Goodsell, wrote a letter to Sen. Lee explaining her frustrations with the posts. The letter includes the following language:

I am writing to let you know that I, along with many other Edgemont parents I have spoken with, am deeply disappointed in your Facebook post belittling an Edgemont teacher’s efforts to create a safe learning environment. The impact of your post was to belittle that teacher and her efforts to create a safe environment for her students. That you would use your platform and position of power to bully a teacher you disagree with, and use her and her students as pawns in a larger political battle you are waging is dehumanizing and unethical. Please consider the impact of your post and the anger against the school that it has incited among your followers and remove it to protect those children and that school’s privacy and safety.”

After receiving Goodsell’s letter and others, Lee issued an apology Thursday, explaining his previous actions and removing his posts and comments. 

Lee apologized to the teacher and to any students, parents, and school officials he might have offended. 

The original photo from Edgemont Elementary no longer appears on Instagram.