Photo: The Mercury News
Photo: The Mercury News

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.