Suburban school board member who sent out offensive tweet: 'I'm sorry'

FOX 32 NEWS - A northwest suburban school board member resigned Monday after an offensive tweet he sent out Sunday morning.

Dr. Dathan Paterno says the tweet was an emotional response to what he was seeing on Twitter during the Women's March and hearing from some celebrities who were speaking at the Saturday event.

Dr. Paterno tweeted: “Most of these vagina screechers didn’t vote, but they mean business. Riiiiiiiiight. What a farce.”

He said in an exclusive interview Monday that he now regrets tweeting it and says when they went low, he went low.

“I’m sorry for how people were hurt and upset by it,” said Dr. Paterno. “So, I hope that people can accept the apology as is."

“I thought that I was talking to a bunch of conservatives on Twitter. There was really no point other than a ‘Yeah, me too, I don’t like what’s going on here too’ and trying to say it in a clever profound kind of intense way, but that was unnecessary – the whole thing was unnecessary.”

He said he finds it hypocritical – that the marchers can say vulgar and crude things, but he can’t.

Dr. Paterno said he now understands how it could be offensive and knows that the majority of women were there for the right reason, but it didn’t come across that way.

“It came across as the whole thing is terrible and everybody who’s there is what I said and that’s not really what I meant to communicate and so I take ownership of not communicating clearly,” said Dr. Paterno.

He has since resigned from his school board position at Park Ridge - Niles School District 64 and deleted his twitter account.

Dr. Paterno is a clinical psychologist for kids and adults at a private practice in Park Ridge and said now he and his colleagues have received hateful messages since the tweet.

He's been called a misogynist, which he says is the furthest from the truth.

“I am married to one, I have two daughters,” he said “I not only love women, but what my belief is that they are equal in every value judgement, women are equal to men."

Despite his resignation, many parents were still upset at Monday night's school board meeting.

"He's an adult, I don’t feel at this point you can be sincere if he put it out there we know better,” said parent Suzanne Henn.

The school board president says they encourage respect and understanding among members.

"His statements were based on his own personal opinions and, as provocative as they were, were made from his position of a tax payer of the community. His statements are in no way shared by or condoned by the board,” said school board president Anthony Borrelli. He said they will be looking for his replacement soon.

Dr. Paterno says he resigned - effective immediately - because he didn't want to drag the school board through this mess.

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