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Racially charged Facebook posts by DOE leader vanish after our questions

UPDATE Tuesday morning: Atlanta senator calls for official to be fired.

Look at the Facebook postings below from an associate superintendent with the Georgia Department of Education. (Heed the warning first about offensive images.) Are the comments and images appropriate for an official of the state of Georgia to post himself or allow to be posted on his public Facebook page, which anyone can access?

A concerned reader notified us of these posts by Jeremy Spencer , the associate superintendent of virtual instruction for DOE and the twin brother of state Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine. Before joining DOE, Spencer was a high school teacher in southeast Georgia.

You can read here about Richard Woods' hiring of Spencer last year for the $138,000-a-year associate superintendent job.

Spencer identifies himself as a DOE leader on his Facebook page and shares DOE news and announcements among his posts about minorities, guns, deportation of immigrants, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. Many of Spencer's posts speak directly to Georgia educators about DOE issues and programs, so he was aware his Facebook page was being read by teachers around the state.

Earlier today, I called DOE spokesman Matt Cardoza who was unaware of the posts and said he would find out whether they violated any DOE or state policies. I sent both Cardoza and Spencer himself copies of some of the posts. I asked Spencer for comment, but he did not respond.

Within 80 minutes of my calls and emails, Spencer's Facebook page disappeared. As many teachers on the blog have stated, social media is a minefield that has to be navigated with caution. Spencer's posts represent controversial content for anyone to post, never mind a high-level, high-profile state official.

A note before you continue: There is a disturbing lynching image someone shared in response to an anti-Obama cartoon Spencer posted on Nov. 19.

Let me stress: Spencer did not post the lynching photo, but he controls the content that appears on his Facebook page and did not remove the photo, which was displayed for more than two months.





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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.