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DOE forces out official over Facebook posts. School chief: I was 'disheartened and disgusted.'

Georgia Schools Superintendent Richard Woods ousted Associate Superintendent Jeremy Spencer today after the AJC reported on his racially charged Facebook posting.

Superintendent Woods said:

"Like most people, I was disheartened and disgusted to see the posts made by Mr. Spencer on his Facebook page. These posts in no way reflect my opinions, or those of the Department of Education.

As of this morning, Mr. Spencer is no longer an employee of the Department of Education. My job, and the job of all employees at the Department of Education, is to look out for the educational well-being of all of Georgia's 1.7 million students, and more than 100,000 teachers and educators.

A reader asked me whether Spencer was fired or allowed to resign. So, put that question to the DOE spokesman who said: "He technically resigned as the superintendent can’t fire employees without the approval of the board. So for the sake of time, he resigned this morning."

I have to confess: I thought it would take weeks for the DOE to respond to the troubling Facebook posts that I wrote about  yesterday on my AJC blog.

Woods surprised me and many others by acting within 24 hours to fire Spencer for the Facebook postings. I thought the posts were appalling stuff for anyone to share on social media, but certainly even more so for an official whose job it is to educate every child in this state.

We should not mince words about the content and the images in question -- they were offensive and insulting. It saddened me to imagine Georgia students seeing them and realizing these were the adults running their schools.

That students can now take a different lesson from this -- racism and prejudice will not be excused or tolerated in Georgia's education agency -- is a credit to Woods.

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About the Author

Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.