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My Response to the St. Tammany FB Incident Regarding Colin Kaepernick’s Nike Ad

September 15, 2018

In this post, I want to address an issue that happened this past week at my high school.

On September 11, 2018, one of our faculty members had her employment terminated (not sure whether by resignation or firing) because of inflammatory comments she wrote on Facebook on September 05, 2018, as part of a posting about NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s Nike ad.


I did not know about the situation as it was unfolding. I saw this colleague in the school hallway before school hours on September 12, 2018, as I often do, and I said hello, as I often do. On that day, it was clear that something was wrong, but I did not know what. Within an hour, I saw one of our regular substitute teachers in the same hallway; as I greeted her, I asked for whom she was subbing. She told me, and her voice was serious. I sensed something was amiss, but I did not know what, and there was no time to ask. The school day was beginning.

Later the same day, I discovered news articles on the situation by accident. Another colleague had asked me about a candidate in our upcoming local school board election, and as I was researching the candidate, I saw a couple of articles about my now-former colleague and the Facebook incident. The situation stunned me.

That evening, some of my detractors on Twitter made sure I knew of the incident and were trying to use it to criticize me, as though my silence meant that I condoned the inflammatory comments because they originated with a teacher from a traditional public school (as opposed to originating with a teacher from a charter school). However, wisdom dictated that I process the situation before responding.

It took some time. I cannot wrap my mind around how someone could write such awful remarks in the first place, remarks that I neither condone nor excuse.

I also wanted to wait to see if my students chose to bring up the subject to me this week as a means of helping them process the situation.

What I do appreciate is that this colleague was afforded due process rights as part of a formal investigation into the incident. I also appreciate that the specifics of that investigation were not divulged by our school board and are accorded privacy since the issue is a personnel matter.

Finally, I agree with and can verify by my own personal experience as an employee of St. Tammany Parish Public Schools the following statement from our board in response to the incident:

This incident does not reflect our district’s values, mission and vision, and we remain committed to providing a school culture that is inclusive and meets the needs of all our students, employees and community.

I appreciate my school, and I value, love, and respect my students. That is the message I choose to send, both in word and deed.



Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

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  1. Do you think it should matter what you post on social media on your own time?

    • If what is posted on social media creates a hostile environment in school, that is a problem.

      • I think this is a really good point, I do believe people should be allowed privacy but I think there is a line!

    • Jack permalink

      If it’s ideas such as those in question, hell yes.

      This teacher’s post is like ever KKK / Aryan Nation racist canard / smear of African-Americans strung end-to end.

      • I think thats a great point, what about people that may just be mad at their job or coworker ranting? I am just curious if there is a line anywhere?

  2. The line is drawn at common sense. Freedom of speech carries with it a responsibility.

  3. IRA SHOR permalink

    Uninformed opinionating sets a very bad example for students, something a teacher should avoid b/c teachers are caregivers who are models for young people. This racist outburst by a teacher insults and threatens students of color while encouraging the worst racist feelings some other students hold, while disrespecting the anti-racist commitments of other white students. Teachers are in a peculiar position of always being “onstage,” because we’ve chosen an occupation where you cannot get rich or famous but where you contribute to the next generation’s development into citizens who improve this very troubled world.

  4. Laura H. Chapman permalink

    Twitter seems to invite ill-considered rants.
    Mercedes was wise to take time for a response, and disclose some of her thinking on this blog.

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