A high school English teacher in Fort Worth, Texas, who was fired for tweeting President Donald Trump about illegal immigrant students at her school won an appeal last week.
The Texas Education Agency found that the teacher, Georgia Clark, is protected by her right to free speech and was wrongly fired.
According to The New York Times, the state agency ruled that Clark “should be reinstated and get back pay and employment benefits, or instead of being allowed to return to her job, she could receive one year’s salary from the date she would have been reinstated.”
“The day the petitioner would have been reinstated is the day respondent tenders petitioner payment in full,” Texas Education Agency commissioner Mike Morath said in the ruling.
As noted by The Blaze, the ruling also determined that the English teacher “‘has been evaluated as an excellent teacher consistently throughout her employment’ and that her tweets “constituted an expression of free speech.”
“Clark’s tweets are statements of a citizen on a matter of public concern protected by the United States Constitution and do not contravene or impair policies or proper performance of the district’s functions,” the agency noted.
Clark’s posted tweets in question, which were addressed to “Mr. President,” asked for laws to be enforced concerning illegal immigrants at the high school within the Fort Worth Independent School District.
According to the teacher, however, she was unaware that the posts were public, and she was apparently under the mistaken impression that she was sending a direct message to President Trump.
“Ms. Clark said that her school district was ‘loaded’ with undocumented students from Mexico, that her high school had been ‘taken over by them’ and that drug dealers had not been punished,” the Times reported on the series of tweets Clark sent on May 17. “She blamed an assistant principal, whom she referred to as a ‘Hispanic assistant principal who protects certain students from criminal prosecution.’”
On May 22, Clark posted to President Trump: “I really do need a contact here in Fort Worth who should be actively investigating and removing the illegals.”
In an interview with WFAA in September, Clark spoke out for the first time after being fired, and stressed that she wanted her job back for herself and for the students who need her.
“I want to work with students who truly need my help,” she told WFAA. “I need my job back, and those kids need me, too.”
“What do you say to Fort Worth’s Hispanic community?” Clark was asked, to which she responded: “If you need someone to help your child graduate, you’re looking at her right here.”
Asked if she regretted posting the tweets, Clark bluntly stated, “No, I don’t.”
“Frankly, God was saying, ‘It’s time, you need to do this now,’” she added.
As noted by the Times, the Forth Worth Independent School District said they will appeal the agency’s decision on Clark.
“We stand by our decision because we firmly believe this is in the best interests of all students,” said superintendent Kent Scribner in a statement.