Bennett Elementary teacher 'relieved of her duties' after posti - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Bennett Elementary teacher 'relieved of her duties' after posting about McKinney incident

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

A fourth grade teacher at Bennett Elementary has been 'relieved of her duties' by the Frenship Independent School District after she posted her opinions about the McKinney pool party incident on her Facebook page.

Karen Fitzgibbons shared an article to her profile stating she was "ANGRY" that police corporal Eric Casebolt resigned. In the post, she made several references to "the blacks" as being the cause for problems and "racial tension."

Her post read as follows: 

"This makes me ANGRY! This officer should not have to resign. I'm going to just go ahead and say it...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. Now, let the bashing of my true and honest opinion begin...GO! #imnotreacist #imsickofthemcausingtrouble #itwasagatedcommunity"

When asked about the post on Wednesday, Fitzgibbons acknowledged it but said she already took it down. She had "no comment" about it, but thanked KCBD for taking an interest.

Fitzgibbons published on her LinkedIn account that she has worked for Bennett Elementary since 1999.

Frenship spokesman Andy Penney sent us this statement about the issue:

All FISD employees are subject to district policies (DH Local) defining employee standards of conduct and electronic media practices. Below is a portion of the FISD Employee Handbook that discusses Employee Personal Use of Electronic Media:

PERSONAL USE OF ELECTRONIC MEDIA

Policy DH

Electronic media includes all forms of social media, such as text messaging, instant messaging, electronic mail (e-mail), Web logs (blogs), electronic forums (chat rooms), video-sharing Web sites (e.g., YouTube), editorial comments posted on the Internet, and social network sites (e.g., Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn). Electronic media also includes all forms of telecommunication such as landlines, cell phones, and Web-based applications.

As role models for the district's students, employees are responsible for their public conduct even when they are not acting as district employees. Employees will be held to the same professional standards in their public use of electronic media as they are for any other public conduct. If an employee's use of electronic media interferes with the employee's ability to effectively perform his or her job duties, the employee is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

Issues dealing with employee use of social media are appropriately handled based on the policies of FISD.

Fitzgibbons issued this apology on Thursday:

First, to anyone, of any race, that I have offended, I sincerely apologize. That was not my intent. I let my emotions get the best of me, and instead of taking a deep breath, vented in an inappropriate way. I am truly sorry. I don't want my comments to reflect poorly on my district or campus, as the words came from me, not them. Frenship and Bennett are amazing places full of people (teachers, administrators, custodial staff, cafeteria staff, parents, and others) who love, care about, and go the extra mile for all students, regardless of race. As a teacher and lifelong educator, I strive to do the same. I always tell my students that once they are my student, they will always be my child. As an educator, I do teach my students about treating all people fairly and with dignity. I regret that my words are now calling that into question. I can, and will, use this situation as a real world example of how emotions and words can cause hurt to others. I am ashamed of my post. As I look back and reflect, I see how hurtful those words sounded. It is my hope that my sincere apology will be accepted.

Thank you,

Karen Fitzgibbons

Frenship ISD issued this statement on Thursday:

"On Wednesday afternoon, Frenship Independent School District was made aware of a statement posted on a Facebook page by a Frenship ISD employee earlier this week.

Frenship ISD is deeply disappointed in the thoughtlessness conveyed by this employee's post. We find these statements to be extremely offensive, insensitive, and disrespectful to our Frenship community and citizens everywhere. These comments in no way represent the educational environment we have created for our students.

The employee whose account is responsible for the post will be relieved of her teaching duties at Frenship ISD.

We hold our employees responsible for their public conduct even when they are not on active duty as district employees. Employees are held to the same professional standards in their public use of electronic media as they are for any other public conduct. This recent conduct was unacceptable.

Frenship ISD hopes communities, parents and students understand that these remarks do not reflect the views of our district, teachers and staff."

Copyright 2015 KCBD. All rights reserved.

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