School psychologist apologizes after controversial comment on social media

School psychologist apologizes after controversial comment on social media

BEAVER, Pa. — A Beaver County school psychologist was put on immediate leave Thursday after telling someone on social media to kill themselves.

Channel 11 contacted the Beaver Area School District psychologist and he emailed a statement, admitting to the tweet.

Matt Rhem said it was a misguided attempt at humor and was an inexcusable comment.

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Rhem has worked for the district for 17 years, counseling children of all ages.

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The tweet was sent out Wednesday night and was directed at local sports radio talk show host Colin Dunlap, who had tweeted pictures of him and his family at Disney World dressed up for Halloween.

In the photos, Dunlap is wearing lederhosen.

Rhem tweeted: "Kill yourself." Dunlap tweeted back: "Nah, I'll elect to have fun with my family instead."

Someone forwarded the tweet to the school district.

Others responded on social media with comments such as, "Find me one psychologist who would tell someone to kill themselves," and, "There is zero context in which this is OK for anyone to say what if he said this to a parent of a child in your district."

Rhem's tweet has since been deleted, and his Twitter account no longer exists.

"In a completely misguided attempt at humor and the lederhosen costume in Mr. Dunlap's photo, I made an inexcusable comment. I apologize sincerely to both him and his family and hope they will forgive this error in judgment," Rhem's email to Channel 11 said.

The school's superintendent, Dr. Carrie Rowe, said she wants to send a strong message that comments like this, ill intent or not, are utterly wrong and that there will be a full investigation.