PETERS TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — The Peters Township School Board censured one of its longtime members Monday night.

Peters School Board President Thomas McMurray introduced a measure to censure School Board Director William Merrell because of inflammatory racist comments and hate speech that appeared on Merrell’s Facebook account; the posts have since been deleted.

McMurray noted the board has no control over individual social media posts and it does not have the legal authority to remove an elected official for misconduct.

“The Board publicly censured William Merrell for his violation of school policy,” McMurray said.

He added the board would not allow the discriminatory messages to be attributed to the Peters School District.

William Merrell (Photo Credit: KDKA)

Many of the crowd who showed up for the meeting wanted Merrell to voluntary step down. He’s up for re-election in Tuesday’s primary election.

Looking directly at Merrell, one woman said, “This is despicable. This has no place in a community such as this, and I hope you will see the light of day and resign.”

“As long as Mr. Merrell is a leader in the district, these posts and these actions will put into question votes, actions, statements made by this governing body,” another woman said.

When asked if wanted to make any comments, Merrell apologized for his posts, saying he realized they may have caused harm.

“I would like to apologize to the board, the district and the community for any comment that I have made or that has been attributed to me, alright. I’m sorry, thank you,” Merrell said.

Ralph Iannotti