A high-ranking Georgia education official has lost his job over racist, homophobic, and anti-Muslim posts on his Facebook page.
Jeremy Spencer, the associate superintendent of virtual instruction for the Georgia Department of Education, was forced to resign Tuesday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Spencer’s antigay posts included one with a picture of a rainbow-colored Festivus pole, (Festivus being a fictional holiday popularized on Seinfeld,) which an activist put up in several state capitols last month to make a statement in favor of LGBT rights. Spencer’s comment on the picture was “Gays and poles; now that just ain’t fittin,” the Journal-Constitution reports. Spencer has taken his Facebook page down, but Towleroad has a screen shot of this post.
Spencer also made anti-Muslim posts like the one below:
And he posted a cartoon of President Obama riding a toy unicorn and saying, “There’s no such thing as radical Islam,” to which one of Spencer’s Facebook friends replied with the comment, “Only one way to solve the problem, impeach and …” followed by a picture of a black man who had been lynched. Spencer could have hidden or deleted the friend’s posting, but he did not. And Spencer’s own most recent post said, “If I read one more thing about the Finland education system … .not everybody in the US public schools are WHITE,” reports Atlanta TV station WXIA.
On Monday, before Spencer was fired, his boss, state school superintendent Richard Woods, told the Journal-Constitution he had been informed about the offensive posts and would investigate the matter thoroughly. “I’m not very pleased at what I’m seeing,” Woods said. “I do not condone what was out there, and it does not reflect myself or the views of the department.” The Journal-Constitution followed up with a report that Spencer had lost his job, as did the TV station.
He could not be fired without the state Board of Education's approval, but after Woods confronted him, he resigned to save time, a spokesman for the Georgia Department of Education told the paper. Spencer has so far not commented to Georgia media.
The Georgia Department of Education has guidelines for social media postings, a spokesman told the Journal-Constitution, although those apply only to the department’s accounts, not personal ones. Despite that, the paper notes, teachers and others have been fired for personal postings, and the Georgia Professional Standards Commission’s code of ethics for educators advises, “Don’t post anything on a website that you would not post on the front door of the school.”