School trustees often face difficult votes, particularly on personnel issues. But Tuesday night brings one of the easiest calls the Fort Worth school board will face: The trustees should fire teacher Georgia Clark.
Clark is the Carter-Riverside High English teacher whose tweets about immigration, directed to President Donald Trump, have made national news.
She should never have pointed to her school and the Fort Worth district in asking the president to enforce immigration law. And because district investigations have documented a history of racially charged comments, trustees are justified in terminating Clark.
In 2013, witnesses reported she referred to a group of Hispanic students in a class as “little Mexico” and made other insensitive comments, district records show. Officials were prepared to fire her, but a teacher group negotiated a reprimand that included reassignment and three days’ docked pay.
Once the tweets came to light, so did other allegations, including that she asked students to show papers proving they are legally in the country. Clark has denied saying that, but she’s lost the right to the benefit of the doubt on the issue.
If anything, Clark should have already been removed from the classroom.
Clark told district officials she thought she was sending a message directly to Trump, not posting it for the world to see. That’s an unfortunate mistake, but her history means she hasn’t earned another pass.
Some might paint Clark’s case as a free speech issue. When her potential firing first came to light, we shared such concerns. Teachers have First Amendment rights like anyone else, and they shouldn’t be punished for expressing mainstream opinions, even ones that might be unpopular in their communities.
But Clark’s behavior has gone far beyond that. Her comments betray not just bias against many of the students on her campus, where Hispanics make up nearly 90 percent of those enrolled, but ignorance about the school’s and teachers’ roles in ensuring that all children get the education they deserve.
No matter how frustrated you are with immigration enforcement, don’t take it out on kids.
Firing a teacher is not a step a school district should take lightly. But this case is a no-brainer.