Fort Worth ISD Plans To Appeal Teacher’s Reinstatement

Alan Scaia
November 26, 2019 - 6:57 am
Georgia Clark

Credit: NBCDFW.com

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FORT WORTH (1080 KRLD) - The Fort Worth ISD will appeal a ruling by the Texas Education Agency that a teacher who was fired from the district in June should get her job back. Georgia Clark was a teacher at Carter-Riverside High School who Tweeted at President Trump about immigration.

"Mr. President, Fort Worth Independent School District is loaded with illegal students from Mexico. Carter-Riverside High School has been taken over by them," Clark wrote in May.

Anything you can do to remove the illegals from Fort Worth would be greatly appreciated,” she wrote in another tweet. The account has since been deleted.

On May 29, Superintendent Kent Scribner responded in a voicemail to parents, saying, "Our mission is to prepare ALL students for success in college, career and community leadership. Let me reiterate our commitment that every child in the District is welcome and is to be treated with dignity and respect."

Fort Worth ISD school board voted unanimously to fire Clark in June. Clark appealed, and Monday evening, the Texas Education Agency ruled she should be reinstated with back pay.

An independent examiner listed several items cited as grounds for her termination, including:

  • As a teacher at Western Hills High School in the 2013-2014 school year, Clark was accused of referring to a group of Hispanic students as "Little Mexico," and the district found she "made racially ethnically demeaning, belittling, offensive, and insensitive remarks to students in violation of Board policy and the Educator's Code of Ethics, and you were suspended without pay and reassigned to a different campus."
  • On May 17 of this year, a student reported to the administration of Carter-Riverside, Clark said, "Mexicans should not enter our country illegally." The report says, "Several students became upset at your statements."
  • The report says, "A second student witness corroborated the first student's report that she asked a student, "Do you have your papers to go" to the restroom after her statements about illegal immigration.

The report says the tweets drew local and national attention, saying the tweets "produced disruption in campus and/or district operations."

The examiner also found, though, that Clark's annual appraisals said "she has been evaluated as an excellent teacher consistently throughout her employment at Fort Worth ISD." The report found testing data showed Clark had helped students improve their scores.

The examiner says 18 seniors who graduated in 2019 sent letters of praise, indicating, "many of her students admired her as a teacher, most of whom are Hispanic." The report also says letters of recommendation from districts where Clark previously worked "show she was well appreciated for her teaching before her time at Fort Worth ISD."

The report came to the conclusion, "Clark’s Twitters were a private citizen’s free speech about a matter of public concern and was privileged and does not establish good cause for termination.”​

Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath says the report shows Clark is entitled to be reinstated with back pay.

Fort Worth ISD spokesman Clint Bond says the district will appeal the ruling. The district has 20 days from the date of the ruling to file the appropriate paperwork.