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Principal loses job over newspaper comment in support of police officer in Texas pool video

Years ago, I wrote about a young Georgia teacher who lost her job because an anonymous complaint – which I still believe came from a fellow teacher – about her Facebook photos. Those photos were routine holiday snapshots that showed the woman at a beer garden in Europe.

At the time, an official from a teacher’s group said he advises educators to stay off social media, warning it is a minefield. His advice to teachers about posting on social media was simple: Don't do it.

North Miami Senior High School Alberto Iber learned that explosive lesson this week when he posted a comment on a Miami Herald story on the McKinney, Texas, pool incident. He commented via Facebook, so the comment showed his picture, name, school and title.

Iber defended the police officer, writing, “He did nothing wrong. He was afraid for his life. I commend him for his actions.” The comment prompted rebukes from residents of the North Miami community where his school was located.

On Wednesday, Iber was removed from the principal's post by the Miami-Dade County School District.

According to the Miami Herald: Please read the full Herald story before commenting here.

The district said a replacement would be named shortly and that Iber would be reassigned to administrative duties. “Judgment is the currency of honesty,” said Superintendent of Schools Alberto Carvalho. “Insensitivity — intentional or perceived — is both unacceptable and inconsistent with our policies, but more importantly with our expectation of common sense behavior that elevates the dignity and humanity of all, beginning with children.”

Iber responded to a reporter’s questions on Tuesday by reading a prepared statement. “I support law enforcement, and also the community and students that I serve as the proud principal of North Miami Senior High,’’ he said. “The comment I posted was simply made as the result of a short video that I watched and my personal opinion.”

Iber, who just finished his first year as the head of North Miami Senior, said he meant to write the comment anonymously. “I regret that I posted the comment as it apparently became newsworthy and has apparently upset people,’’ he said. “That was not my intention in any way.”

This story is getting a lot of attention in Florida with people divided on whether the principal should have been yanked. To me, the question is whether he could still lead his school. I doubt many of his students were perusing the comment section of the Miami Herald, but many adults, including school district leaders, were.

What do you think?

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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.