After asserting that the only terrorists Americans should fear are "domestic white 'Christian' men with easy access to guns," a Maine high school official has issued an apology, admitting his statement was an "exaggeration."
Fox News reports that Piet Lammert, vice principal of Camden Hills Regional High School in Rockport, made the controversial remarks in a public Facebook post just one day after a white gunman shot and killed three people and wounded nine others at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic.
"The only terrorists we need to fear are domestic white 'Christian' men with easy access to guns. Vote Bernie," Lammert wrote.
As the internet quickly lit up with criticism for Lammert's comments, he quickly deleted his post and penned an apology on his Facebook page.
"I am writing to take responsibility and apologize for a post that I made on my private Facebook account yesterday," he wrote. "I mistakenly left my setting open to 'Public' and in doing so made a post that offended some members of our community and beyond."
"I deeply regret doing so, take full responsibility, and hope that those I offended will accept my apology," he said. "I would also ask that those who shared my post would share my apology as well so that it reaches those who I offended but don't personally know."
In a follow-up post, Lammert issued a second apology, claiming he did not "intend this statement literally" when he wrote it.
"It was an exaggeration -- but soon after realized that it was unintentionally hurtful, offensive, and divisive at a time when more than ever we need compassion and understanding," he said. "In short, I did not mean what I said and wish with all my heart that I could take it back. But I need to take responsibility for it nonetheless, because I wrote it.
"Had I simply written what I meant, the post would have reflected my urgent distress at the epidemic of mass violence in our country, which more recent events have proven to span all social groups," he continued. "Ironically, in my effort to point out that we run the risk of simplifying the problem by singling out a particular ethnic group, I did exactly that to the group to which I belong. It was careless and rash."
While many voiced their support for Lammert, others called for him to be removed from his position as head of a high school due to his comments.
"The fact that he stated he mistakenly left his posting on public only shows his true colors," wrote one woman. "This man lives in fear of God fearing Christian citizens who embrace the 2nd Amendment, but was caught speaking his mind and who now out of that very fear is back peddling."
Added another, "He is only sorry because it was made public. How does he still have a job."
"If Piet Lammert had made a similar remark about Muslims, he would have been gone by the end of the day," wrote another. "If it were not for double standards, most liberals and progressives would have no standards at all. They are oblivious to their own double standard and hypocrisy."
Speaking to Fox News, Maria Libby, the superintendent of the school system, criticized the Facebook post but said Lammert would not be fired.
"He understands that he made a mistake, and he has tried to take responsibility for that," she said, but clarified: "I don't think that everyone in the community would say it's resolved."
"I think that there are people in the community who are quite upset over the post and may not be happy unless that assistant principal is fired," she said.
She described Lammert as a "caring, compassionate, open and trustworthy" vice principal who has worked for 17 years at the school -- first as a guidance counselor.
"He has a stellar reputation in our district," Libby said. "He has been very well loved by students and parents."