Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Oh, Waco...

This story, like many of the weird news that comes out of Waco every once in a while, takes a little explaining. To make it clearer, I am presenting it in timeline form below.

1) June 5, 2015: A police officer in McKinney, Texas quits after he pulled a gun on some black teenagers holding a pool party. A video went viral, showing that officer throwing a 14-year-old girl in a bikini to the ground.

2) June 12, 2015: Karen Fitzgibbons, an elementary school teacher in the Texas town of Wolfforth, is relieved of her duties after she posts a screed on facebook in response to the events in McKinney. In that post, she wrote that the blacks are the ones causing the problems and this ‘racial tension.’ I guess that’s what happens when you flunk out of school and have no education. I’m sure their parents are just as guilty for not knowing what their kids were doing; or knew it and didn’t care. I’m almost to the point of wanting them all segregated on one side of town so they can hurt each other and leave the innocent people alone. Maybe the 50s and 60s were really on to something. The firing-- and the text of the post-- makes the news nationally and is widely reported.

3) Early summer, 2016: Fitzgibbons applies for a job with the Waco Independent School District. On her application she truthfully describes that she was let go from her previous job because of a social media post that had racial implications.

4) July, 2016:  Fitzgibbons is hired as a third-grade teacher at Waco's Hillcrest Professional Development School.

5) August, 2016: Waco ISD abruptly shifts Fitzgibbons out of the classroom and into an administrative position when they "realize" the nature of her previous issues.

What a bizarre story! So far as I can figure, there are three possibilities here, and none of them are good:

1)  Despite the fact that her application plainly stated that she had been pushed out of another job for a racist post, that wasn't seen as a problem and no one at Waco ISD bothered to do even a simple online search using even just her name, which would have led to dozens of stories about her racist screed.

2) Someone did look up Fitzgibbons' back story, knew what she had written, and they hired her anyways thinking no one would notice or care. When the story was in danger of going public, the District reacted.

3) No one really read the application of someone who was applying to teach third grade.

My vote is no one read the application as all of the "weeding" out in most job searches is now handled by a computer looking for key words.

In her case, "3rd grade teacher" was probably more important than "racism" given teacher shortages across the country.

Hillcrest is a magnet school. They owe it to their families to do better. And why was she moved to an administrative position? That solves nothing.
I think the explanation from the district was that they wanted to "honor her contract" so they've moved her to an administrative position. Reading between the lines, they're going to have to pay her the rest of her contracted money because she disclosed this issue to them, and yet Waco ISD hired her anyways. They can hardly claim she breached the contract when she was pretty upfront about why her last employment ended. Since they're going to have to pay her, might as well get some work out of her.
I hear you. For the most part, we are all for second chances in the abstract--but this a clear situation in which second chances are not always appropriate in all cases, especially when we are talking about our own "backyard."
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