Education official out over Facebook posts


The Georgia education official who posted online about race, religion and partisan politics resigned on Tuesday.

Georgia Superintendent Richard Woods issued a statement saying he was “disgusted” by the Facebook posts of associate superintendent Jeremy Spencer and that, as of Tuesday, he was no longer a Department of Education employee.

The announcement came within an hour of a call at the Capitol for Spencer’s termination.

Sen. Vincent Fort, an Atlanta Democrat, called on the GOP school leader to fire Spencer, saying in the well of the Senate that “Mr. Spencer has crossed the line.”

Spencer frequently posted his thoughts and news accounts about blacks, Muslims, partisan politics and other topics that would be dangerous territory for a teacher. His Facebook site was taken down Monday after inquiries by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Before that, though, he’d allowed a picture of a lynching that was posted by a “friend” to remain on his site for more than two months.

Fort, who is black, said the site contained “some of the most vile images and entries” he’d seen on a public official’s site. While the Facebook site was Spencer’s personal one, he identified himself on the site as a Georgia Department of Education official and discussed educational issues there.

Fort, who is the Democratic party whip in the Senate, said Spencer’s decisions on social media were “more than just a mistake of judgment,” calling the content he found there “meanness.”

Woods said that, “Like most people, I was disheartened and disgusted to see the posts made by Mr. Spencer.” He said the posts did not reflect his opinions nor those of the education department.

Read Richard Woods statement here.

Clarification: An earlier version of this article said Jeremy Spencer was fired. Technically, he resigned, but the reasons he gave differ from those provided by officials. Superintendent Richard Woods’ office said Woods wanted Spencer out quickly, but only the Georgia Board of Education had the authority to fire him. So Woods’ office said the superintendent asked for Spencer to leave and said that if Spencer had refused, Woods would have recommended that the board terminate him. “In the interest of completing the process within 24 hours, Superintendent Woods asked for Jeremy’s resignation,” Woods’ office said. Spencer said he decided to resign after conversations with Woods, but he said neither Woods nor anyone else asked him to leave. “I was not forced, and I was not asked,” Spencer said.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Education

Atlanta schools and city bringing deed fight to close
Atlanta schools and city bringing deed fight to close

The Atlanta City Council agreed Monday to transfer deeds to 31 properties to Atlanta Public Schools, bringing partial closure to a long-running dispute over who controls school sites. For several years, the school district and city have been locked in a battle over deeds to school properties the city held onto after APS legally split from the city...
Atlanta City Council approves transfer of 31 properties to APS
Atlanta City Council approves transfer of 31 properties to APS

The Atlanta City Council agreed Monday to transfer deeds to 31 properties to Atlanta Public Schools.  The action helps fulfill a campaign promise made by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to turn over to APS deeds to school properties held by the city, a leftover from before the city and school district became separate legal entities in the 1970s...
Fulton investigating whether Alpharetta coach used N-word with Valdosta player
Fulton investigating whether Alpharetta coach used N-word with Valdosta player
The Fulton County School System is investigating an allegation that an Alpharetta High School baseball coach used a racial epithet toward a Valdosta High School player at a tense Friday night game.  According to the player’s mother LaVerne Rome, the incident occurred after Valdosta High School defeated Alpharetta High School in extra innings...
Georgia students recognized for academic excellence
Georgia students recognized for academic excellence

The Georgia Board of Regents at its board meeting last week honored a student from each of its colleges and universities for classroom academic achievements. Here are the students: Olivia N. Minish - Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Alexius Lampkin - Albany State University Antonio D. McGaha - Atlanta Metropolitan State College Mckensie L. Jones...
Public school, private industry partner for student success
Public school, private industry partner for student success

A Gwinnett County education program is converging with business interests as a way to give students immediate work skills or prepare them for higher education. Shiloh High School cut the ribbon on its mock pharmacy lab Thursday. With assistance from the CVS Pharmacy chain, the new lab will provide students enrolled in the school’s Wellness Health...
More Stories