JEFFERSON PARISH, La. — Jefferson Parish School Board officials told a Metairie businessman he needed to "clean up" his social media comments before appointing him to temporarily fill a seat on the school board, according to a report from The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate
Rafael Rafidi's commentary on social media includes disparaging and profane attacks against U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy and former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu among other current and former elected officials— as well as teachers and Democrats, and opponents of former President Donald Trump, according to the report.
The appointment came during a special meeting held before Wednesday's regular meeting. Rafidi was the only candidate who expressed an interest in the job, the report from The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate said.
Among the members of the school board, seven voted to appoint Rafidi. School board members Ricky Johson and Simeon Dickerson did not. Johnson voted against Rafidi's appointment, and Dickerson abstained.
“He does seem like a nice guy, but obviously that is not the case,” said fellow Boardmember Simeon Dickerson.
Before the vote, Johnson and Dickerson had questions about Rafidi's online comments.
Dickerson calls Rafidi ‘extremely radical.’ He abstained from voting at the time of Rafidis's appointment because he felt he needed more information.
“He’s unfit due to his comments about teachers, which means he’s unfit for our students,” he said.
Dickerson says he plans to call for a special meeting to remove Rafidi from his position.
Rafidi has posted comments disdainful of the work of teachers and attacked politicians with foul language for their perceived disloyalty to former President Donald Trump, the report said.
Tweeting in 2018, Rafifdi said, "Teachers are the fall of our young people in this country. No values, no work ethic, and just suck as much as you can from those that work hard. Good job".
In Feb. 2021, Rafidi replied to a tweet from former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. "Go f--k yourselves," Rafidi replied. In another tweet, he called Cassidy a "piece of s--t". He called Landrieu a "f-----g traitor."
According to the paper, Rafidi's social media doesn't say whether he had gone inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, but it does say he was at the Stop the Steal Rally and walked over to the Capitol.