Sharon Burns did not expect her appreciation for a heavy metal band would lead to an international controversy that would put her job at risk. Called the Iron Maiden principal for outing herself as a fan of the '70s rock band on social media, Burns had to face angry parents who worried she could influence their kids as her favorite music group has links to Satanism.
But the District School Board of Niagara has decided not to put Burns under disciplinary action despite publicly acknowledging her love for Iron Maiden. In a statement to National Post, Kim Sweeny, the school board's Chief Communications Officer, said that Burns, the principal of Eden High School in Ontario, is "a passionate and dedicated educator" focused on her job could connect to the students.
Sweeney also said that they had a dialogue with Burns and the concerned parents. They arrived at a decision not to sanction the principal after she removed her post about her rock band fandom.
Two Petitions Started by the Parents
The Iron Maiden principal uploaded two photos of herself in a truck full of Iron Maiden memorabilia, including a handmade 666 sign, to show her fandom. Some parents didn't find this amusing, especially since this was shared on the school's official Instagram page.
In a petition, the parents said they were "deeply disturbed" that Burns would blatantly display the satanic symbol and "her allegiance to Satanic practices" as an Iron Maiden fan on a public social media profile. They sought her removal from the school, even as Burns removed the controversial photos from the school's page. According to reports, nearly 500 parents signed off on her termination.
Soon after the first petition, another one was launched in support of Burns' retention. Gathering more than 23,000 signatures, the petition stated that calls for her termination were "ridiculous" as the school is not a religious entity.
One father with two kids in Eden said that Burns created "one of the most inclusive school cultures in the DSBN and has gained the support of parents and students alike." Another parent said that the Iron Maiden principal "spreads nothing but love and kindness" among the school community.
A city council member said that the whole incident has been "funny, silly, and frustrating." Meanwhile, the first petition was updated to indicate that the parents didn't want Burns gone for her Iron Maiden devotion but for displaying Satanic symbols like 666, which has been associated with the anti-Christ. After updating their statement, the petition was subsequently removed.
Who is Iron Maiden?
Iron Maiden was formed in 1975 in East London, and they sold millions of albums during the 80s. The group remains active to this day but has not commented on the controversy surrounding the school principal.
In 2019, the band's bassist and songwriter, Steve Harris, said their fibs on Satanism were a response to something they considered absurd, so they did songs like "Children of the Damned" or "Hallowed Be Thy Name" following accusations of their cult leanings. The band still had the last laugh, though, as three of their albums reached millions of sales, landing on Rolling Stone's Greatest Metal Albums list.
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