Shared from the 6/6/2019 Houston Chronicle eEdition

Teacher fired for tweets about ‘illegal students’

Amanda McCoy / TNS

Community members speak out against teacher Georgia Clark in ameeting Tuesday in Fort Worth.

FORT WORTH —An English teacher whose Twitter posts against immigration sparked a backlash on social media was recommended for termination by the Fort Worth school board over her use of racist language.

The board voted 8-0 in a special meeting Tuesday in favor of a“proposed termination” of Georgia Clark. Clark was placed on administrative leave last week while the district investigated reports that she used racist language against students at Carter-Riverside High School on social media.

Now, Clark has 15 days to decide if she wants to seek an appeal with the state.

“Once the tweets came to light, so, too, did other allegations, and it was my professional judgment that it was in the best interest of the district,” said Superintendent Kent P. Scribner after the vote.

The district found Clark behaved inappropriately and violated the district’s social media use policy when she posted several comments about illegal immigration and schools.

The comments were directed at President Donald Trump and singled out Fort Worth schools and Carter-Riverside High School, where Clark was teaching English. The posts came to light as people asked the district to do something about the educator’s racist comments.

Clark told Fort Worth school district officials she didn’t realize her comments were public. One tweet read:

“Mr. President, Fort Worth Independent School District is loaded with illegal students from Mexico,” read one of the posts linked to her account. “Carter-Riverside High School has been taken over by them.”

The board determined that Clark’s conduct and the public reaction to her conduct compromised her ability to teach.

The board had to vote on the issue because Clark is a contract employee who has protections under Texas laws. The termination moved Clark’s case into an appeal phase with the Texas Education Agency. Under that process, Clark can request a due process hearing.

The education commissioner could then appoint a hearing officer who would listen to both sides of the issue. Generally, the hearing takes place within 60 days.

The Fort Worth school board would have to vote again on the matter based on the recommendation of the hearing officer. Clark remains employed by the district with pay during that process.

“This board has a strong record of supporting students and their quest for success, college, career and community leadership,” Scribner said. “Fort Worth serves 86,000 students, and it is our goal that we treat each one with dignity and respect, and based on the information that we have, we think this is the most responsible recommendation at this time.”

More than a dozen immigrant allies attended the meeting. Several urged the board to fire Clark and revoke her teaching certificate.

“This community demands that this teacher be terminated,” said Joanna Cardoza, who represents the League of United Latin American Citizens, or LULAC, District 21.

Clark has a history of run-ins with the district over her language and behavior toward students. In 2013, the district recommended to terminate her, but a teacher group helped her remain with the district after it helped find a resolution for her.

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