Rushville mayor calls for public forum on prejudicial speech

Schuyler Sheriff Don Schieferdecker

The mayor of Rushville, Illinois has issued a public statement following a derogatory Facebook comment posted by Schuyler County Sheriff Don Schieferdecker. Sheriff Schieferdecker referred to a co-worker as a "little fag Jew boy" on his Facebook page on March 17.

According to AOL News, Schieferdecker admitted he is extremely sorry. "I have spent over 30 years of my life here giving public service, and I have never intentionally done anything to hurt anyone for any reason... All I can do is say I am sorry... I am extremely sorry [and] I beg people's forgiveness." He continued to tell AOL News that "it was a -- what I thought to be a harmless joke between friends and employees that I wasn't aware of that was going out worldwide. I mean it was a response to a joke and it was sent out as a joke."

Schieferdecker's original Facebook comment has since been deleted, but the issue of prejudicial speech has hit the internet in full force.

Mayor Scott Thompson has since released this statement on the Rushville, Illinois Facebook page:

I've been asked by many to make a statement regarding the remarks the sheriff made on a Facebook page earlier this week. Don is my friend but I will not speak to his heart or thoughts. I do however want to speak to my responsibility as mayor.

I do not condone language which conveys discrimination or prejudice due to race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or national origin. Such language would reflect poorly upon the individual and the community.

Many of us have worked very hard to overcome the image some people expect of a rural, Midwest community. In particular, welcoming our West African friends. We will gladly continue this work knowing our success will make Rushville an even better place to live and place you can speak proudly of to your friends.

-Scott Thompson, Mayor

Mayor Thompson has called for a public forum on civil communication and hate speech. He referred anyone wanting to participate in this to keep tabs on the Rushville Times Website for the latest information.