The posts gained attention after being highlighted by the Facebook page for Not In Our Town Billings, a group with 3,000-plus followers that advocates for progressive causes and in particular against hate speech.
Cara Auch, a parent of two Medicine Crow students, said she was troubled by the lack of response from district officials after Upham’s initial comments, especially with the start of school looming.
“I don’t know if I’m sending (my kids) to school here or if I’m switching schools,” she said.
On Friday, Upham said the investigation was “nearing completion of the process.” Hofmann has not been placed on leave, he said, and is currently serving as Medicine Crow’s principal.
Hofmann has received support from some Billings educators.
Billings Catholic Schools superintendent Shaun Harrington, who previously worked alongside Hofmann in several administrative roles in School District 2, sent an email of support to SD2 trustees.
“I have never witnessed anything that would make me question Nikki’s character,” he wrote. “Education is a personal business… Nikki never forgot the person she was dealing with and what they were going through at the time.”
He acknowledged that her social media use was “unfortunate,” but that “I have never seen or heard Nikki support anything close to the views of her husband.”
In another email to trustees, Jolene Laughery, a Medicine Crow counselor, called Hofmann “first and foremost our students’ biggest advocate… Medicine Crow has a very diverse student population and never once have I witnessed Nikki treating any student or their family differently because of their race.”
Additional emails to trustees both condemned Hofmann’s conduct and supported her.
Auch said that she isn’t trying to get Hofmann fired; rather, she wants the district to acknowledge and address her social media conduct.
“She’s a role model,” she said. “She needs to set an example… what I really want is some acknowledgement of the wrongdoing.”