Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce has deleted a tweet posted Thursday after intense backlash on social media.
The tweet, which featured images of Lecce with children using technology, read: “We are positioning our students for success in life and work by embracing technology and STEM in the classroom. We are listening to parents & being reasonable at the negotiating table to ensure our kids remain in class.”
The minister’s office confirmed the photographs featured in the tweet were not taken at a public school but, rather, at MakerKids, a private company that does not operate under the Ministry of Education. MakerKids runs after-school programs at a number of locations and focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The tweet went viral on Thursday night after this observation was made on Twitter, with many users commenting on the photographs.
Twitter user @liz_hall_e wrote: “Was he too afraid to go to a public school? Would none of the public schools have him? Was he trying to avoid showing evidence of some of the disrepair in the public schools?”
Another user, @1canadagirl, tweeted: “Is he too scared to go into a school?”
Premier Doug Ford’s executive director of communications, Laryssa Waler, also weighed in, tweeting: “It’s a small business that runs an after school program. And if you want to argue that hosting an avail in the middle of a school day in a school during active negotiations is a good idea- I guess you can. I think it would be disruptive.”
Lecce’s office told Global News on Thursday that the location of the photos was chosen due to timing and convenience, saying the decision was not made in an effort to avoid going to one of the province’s public schools but instead so as not to create a disruption.
The office also points out that the minister recently visited McCaskill’s Mills Public School near Lindsay while making an announcement about expanded child care.