On Wednesday, a man who was named “National Teacher of the Year” in 2019 by the Council of Chief State School Officers tweeted that the neighbors of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should act like a “true Kentucky hero” the way that the neighbor of Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) violently attacked Paul in 2017, leaving him with six broken ribs and necessitating the removal of part of his lung.
Rodney Robinson tweeted, “Who are Mitch McConnell’s neighbors? I’m just saying Rand Paul’s neighbor did what a true Kentucky hero should do. It’s your turn to step up.”
2019 National Teacher of the Year pic.twitter.com/0PQTDxos3v
— Kyle Kashuv (@KyleKashuv) December 31, 2020
Paul’s wife Kelly Ashby Paul issued a fiery response, tweeting, “I am so disgusted by this I have no words. The 2019 ‘National teacher of the Year’ is celebrating the violent assault on my husband that resulted in 6 broken ribs and part of his lung being removed. This hateful thug is calling for more violence on Sen McConnell.”
Robinson eventually deleted the tweet and posted a response to the backlash, which he blamed on “conservative bots“: “I made a Mitch McConnell joke today and the conservative bots are real angry. It’s funny because the joke was made early today and no one said a thing until I promoted black medical awareness.”
When he was awarded Teacher of the Year in 2019, the Council of Chief State School Officers said of Robinson, “He creates a positive school culture by empowering his students – many of whom have experienced trauma – to become civically minded social advocates who use their skills and voices to affect physical and policy changes at their school and in their communities,” CNN noted.
CBS News lauded Robinson in April 2019, writing:
Robinson teaches social studies and history at Virgie Binford Education Center, a school inside the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center. His lessons focus on helping his students become socially conscious citizens who make the most out of their second chance. Robinson stressed his students are just like any other teenagers.
Robinson told CBS This Morning of his students, “There’s no difference. They like cheesy, teenage stuff like ‘Teen Wolf’ and ‘Hanna,’ their favorite shows. But they just made mistakes and they’re paying for mistakes. But America is a country of second chances and in order for them to achieve and get that second chance, they deserve a quality education like everybody else.”
“When you create equitable culture in your classroom, the kids buy into it. And they understand that,” he added. “As a matter of fact, my kids often help those that need more to ease my burden.”
Virgie Binford Education Center principal Ta’Neshia Ford enthused, “He is so much more than just a teacher. He is a pillar of our community. He is the father … the big brother … the friend. He’s all of that and more to our students.”
Hubert Anderson, a teacher at George Mason Elementary School who had once been a student of Robinson’s, stated, “You have a gem in the nation, you know, who’s making a solid impact.”
Kelly Paul wrote about her husband’s serious injuries in November 2017:
The average person takes 20,000 breaths a day. Since November 3, my husband, Rand Paul, has not taken a single one without pain. He has not had a single night’s sleep uninterrupted by long periods of difficult breathing or excruciating coughing. As his wife, I have been distraught over seeing him suffer like this. There have been several nights where I had my hand on my phone ready to call 911 when his breathing became so labored it was terrifying. …
This was not a “scuffle,” a “fight” or an “altercation,” as many in the media falsely describe it. It was a deliberate, blindside attack. The impact left Rand with six broken ribs, three displaced, pleural effusion and now pneumonia. This has been a terrible experience; made worse by the media’s gleeful attempts to blame Rand for it, ridiculing him for everything from mowing his own lawn to composting.