A Florida middle school teacher was "removed" from classroom duties on Sunday after she was accused of hosting a secret white-nationalist podcast in which she allegedly bragged about touting her beliefs in the classroom, authorities said.
The Citrus County School District in northern Florida said it is investigating a Huffington Post report that claimed Dayanna Volitich, a 25-year-old social studies teacher at Crystal River Middle School, had hosted the under the pseudonym "Tiana Dalichov."
The district did not mention Volitich by name, but it said it became aware of "a concerning podcast" on Friday when it was contacted by a Huffington Post reporter, according to a statement released Sunday. The district said it launched the investigation immediately.
"The reporter indicated they believed one of the persons participating in the podcast was a teacher at Crystal River Middle School," superintendent Sandra Himmel said in the statement. "The teacher has been removed from the classroom and the investigation is ongoing.
"Pursuant to Florida Statute an open investigation and materials related to it are exempt from public record and cannot be discussed until the investigation is complete," Himmel added.
Volitich released a statement through her lawyer, Charles Moore Jr., denying reports she is a white nationalist.
"None of the statements released about my being a white nationalist or white supremacist have any truth to them, nor are my political beliefs injected into my teaching or social studies curriculum," Volitich said. "While operating under the Russian pseudonym 'Tiana Dalichov' on social media and the Unapologetic Podcast, I employed political satire and exaggeration, mainly to the end of attracting listeners and followers, and generating conversation about the content discussed between myself and guests."
In its Friday report, the Huffington Post cited evidence including photographs, location information, occupation and age, that is said indicated that Volitich and Dalichov, the host of the "Unapologetic" podcast, were the same person.
In one of the podcasts, the host talks about putting on a "dog and pony show" for administrators during her first year when it came to teaching certain curriculum. In previous episodes, the host said Muslims should be eradicated from the earth.
"I get to talk about topics that people don't like to talk about. They don't want to be seen as a bigot, racist, whatever you want to call it. I honestly don't care," the host said in one clip.
ABC affiliate WFTS said it stopped by Volitich's apartment to talk with her, but no one answered the door. A neighbor told WFTS that he recognized a photo of her, but said he rarely spoke with her.