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Georgia Clark

Another August, and again I suffer through my usual bout of sympathetic nervousness, thinking about all the teachers and students getting ready for that first day of school. I guess it’s normal. Though retired now, I had 25 years of those high-anxiety beginnings, the last 17 at Amon Carter-Riverside High School, here in Fort Worth.

Yes, that Carter-Riverside High School, made famous in June by a racist teacher’s tweets to 45, complaining of “illegal students” and wanting the “send them back” man to round ’em up. After that news story went viral, friends and relatives from all over breathlessly wanted to know if I knew “that woman.” As far I know, I never had the displeasure. Georgia Clark wasn’t yet at Carter when I retired, but I’ve seen enough teachers like her through the years.

Comically, the far right portrays public school teachers as out-of-touch kumbaya leftists. From my experience, nothing could be further from the truth. The majority of teachers I knew were politically and socially conservative with a large contingent being evangelical Christians. And the vast majority of those conservatives were good teachers. I may not care for their politics or their religious leanings, but the ones I knew loved students, legal or “illegal.” Maybe that’s why the Georgia Clark story bothered me so much.

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It might also be the strong connection I still feel toward my old school. I am protective of it, its students, and its neighborhood, where I still live. After my wife died four years ago, I slowly inched back into the dating world. What an eye-opener that was. One woman I met through Match.com was impressed by my pics and banter, yet when she found out I lived in the Carter-Riverside neighborhood, she quickly informed me that I lived in a ghetto, not the working-class, mixed-race barrio with wonderful neighbors, great taco trucks, and pho restaurants that I knew.

Urban schools, like Carter, get a bum rap, too. When I was teaching and went to parties, I’d tell people where I taught, and they were immediately apologetic. “Poor man,” they’d say. Somehow they’d gotten the fool notion prevalent in pop culture that urban schools are violent hell holes where sagging cholos roamed freely. That’s just not true. Almost all my students at Carter were outstanding young men and women.

There, I was primarily an English-as-a-Second Language teacher. Can you imagine going through the usual struggles of teenagerhood and on top of that having to learn a new language and culture? I can’t. That’s why my ESL students were heroes to me.

I always assumed most of them came from households where the parents were undocumented. It never bothered me. It makes no sense not educating their children. As for Ms. Clark’s rant about students not standing for the pledge, I told mine they didn’t have to. If they didn’t want to, I totally understood. They’re from a different country, and even if they weren’t, students shouldn’t be forced to perform a rote, meaningless display of faux-patriotism. And neither should public school teachers or professional athletes, for that matter.

This year, Carter will mercifully be without the infamous Georgia Clark, no matter what the school board ultimately decides. Thank goodness. It’s more than sad when a school like Carter – where so many teachers and staff work hard to help students – becomes known for the irresponsible actions of one person who shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

If Georgia Clark had as much animus toward students as her tweets showed, it was long past time for her to move on to other pastures. And leave teaching to people who care about students, who support them, and advocate for them but, most of all, respect them, regardless of where they come from or their immigration status.

Ken Wheatcroft-Pardue is a Fort Worth writer who can be reached at kwheatcroftpardue@yahoo.com. The Weekly welcomes submissions from writers of all political persuasions. Contact Editor Anthony Mariani at anthony@fwweekly.com.

30 COMMENTS

  1. Teacher,
    I was one of your students.
    I remember being in your class soo vividly.
    You definitelly influence my life for the better. althought, I am still not the best English writter you taught me more than english.

  2. Throw out all laws, go back to living in caves and eating babies that are being butchered from uncaring mothers, reduce the global foot print of carbon, kill the old, eat them, kill the sick eat them….thats where your headed,..lots of luck. Stop farming cows and other animals for food, just eat each other.

  3. Illegal immigration is illegal, and shall remain illegal, I’m not related to this Ms. Clark, but I am with Ms. Clark, she is right to sound the alarm on illegals taking up all the space in our schools, she went with her gut, and her gut is right, and shall always be right, get a gut thats right first then come back and debate things. There is no earthly reason to protect illegals, in anyway. Learn that one thing and you learn something today.

  4. The first tweet had the main idea and that was drug dealers on campus. How on earth it was missed boggles the imagination. The fact that the drug dealers come from illegal families is how the word illegal entered the conversation.

    • Georgia, believe it or not I have some sympathy for you. I know what it’s like to be a high school teacher, and I certainly made my share of mistakes in the classroom. Also, l suspect this has been hard on you. No one, regardless of their political stripe, should feel comfortable with the social media mob mentality I’m sure you’ve had to put up. That said, what do you hope to gain from all this? The district might reinstate you, but you won’t be able to teach in Fort Worth again. No principals going to want you and the notoriety that goes with you. So you’ll collect a salary and take up resources that could be better spent. That doesn’t sound good to me. Maybe you feel different, though?

      • Ken, it is still very sad to me, that so many have looked the other way as one politcal party has cicumvented Federal Immigration Laws, while the other one sits on its hands and everyone else wonders why they should be held accountable for their own behavior.

        If this had not happened, we would not need a wall and the rest of the world would understand that there is a process and a procedure to come into this country. Meanwhile the Demcorats have blood on their hands from all of those who have died to get here and those who have died at the hands of those who broke additional laws once they got here.

        This is not about hate or racism. This is about common sense, respect for our legal system and the sovereignty of this country.

        You may be high minded, but building your story around another individual’s effort, who truly was concerened about the activities in this school, says a lot about adults who look the way when there are bullies in action and drug dealing is a form of bullying and so is illegal immigration.

        It only took me 25 years to kick the habit that I got pulled into.
        I wish Georgia Clark had been at my high school.

        • Thank you for your obvious words laced with wisdom. If you have not read the hearing examiner 76 page document giving his decision as to why I should not have been terminated and that my contract should be honored, the Star-Telegram has posted an online interactive version and that was done first on Friday, August 29, and just recently I believe Monday the ninth.

      • I’m sure you don’t know half of it, having your name drug through the mud.
        I hope she can muster up enough to clean the deck of the whole school board!
        She has been abused.

  5. Dear Teachers in the United States,
    According to FORMER teacher, Ken Wheatcroft-Pardue, it is okay to attack fellow teachers in the media. While we are at it, lets go ahead and allow physical violence against them by the students as well. The big coward here is Ken, who is so vocal, AFTER he has retired.

    It took many years to get over the habit I developed in high school. I wish there had been more Mrs. Clarks and fewer teachers like Mr. Hyphenated.

    • You got a problem with my name, t0m0. Well, at least, I use my real name unlike you. You hide behind a pseudonym, and call me a coward. What a joke. And, just so you know, I was vocal before I retired.

  6. SO the real story is there are illegal kids in school with parents with a bag of dope to sell the kiddies, and Ms. Georgia Clark sounds the alarm about the drugs, and somehow the story changed by the media or staff in schools twists Ms. Georgia Clark’s words saying she was sounding alarm about the illegal kids, which wasn’t true, but the story took off, and found traction, a lie was created, and guess what it was listened too with open ears. Made national news reaching even the ears of the President, which they hoped to reel in the President with a statement. A twisted story for a fake news network, was most likely behind it, and I would sue the hell out of the reporter and the news media, editor, the one he works for, find out who was the VERY FIRST reporter to report it, demand a retraction, then file suit. This case should be worth 5 million to go away, the insurance agent will beg you to take 5 million instead of taking them to court and a jury trial. And the FWISD is not innocent in this, they have plenty of blame coming their way too, they will settle too, like a couple million. I would demand that you get you job back, teach these kids, even after you win these cases, teach them for at least 6 months, then retire WITH PENSION!!!!!!

  7. I want justice for Ms. Georgia Clark, and I stand with her, knowing she was abused, ALL people who believe in justice support her, the FWISD is to blame too, Ms. Clark is not an attorney and neither am I, but I have a expert understanding of justice, and she needs to punish the FWISD, and the media who broke this national story. Her mentioning a students name on a board meeting is unworthy of comment, unless your trying to shut some one up. Ms. Clark deserves to be heard, in the papers, and in court. Count this as the first shot over your bow, and get that check book ready, this is just about to get real for the FWISD, and that reporter who lied.

        • An editor either approves a comment and posts it or disapproves it and doesn’t post it, but we do not censor, meaning we don’t remove portions of comments. It’s all or nothing.

        • I see a reply from you to ToMo but not to Clark. Send it again. Maybe one of the editors didn’t approve it for some reason I’m not aware of. We don’t post some comments for any number of reasons.

  8. If your policy is to post an approved reply or not post a disapproved reply, that’s censorship! I didn’t say EDIT, i used the word censor, like in censorship, where your point/reply, is deleted all together, that’s censorship Mr. Prince. And in doing so, that would mean you steer a topic a certain direction, I’m now claiming I was censored, because after 10 hours or longer my several replies were posted.

    • Thank you Mr. Clark for your support. I noticed a question directed toward you by someone who has been quite vocal and speaking to the board against me. And September 10 in her three minute presentation she held up an 8 x 10 color photograph of me, and followed it with photographs of the hearing examiner, the commissioner of education, and our governor. She identified all of the men as being white and then call them white Supremists. I kid you not. Since the video of all school board meetings is public, and if you have a computer, you might want to take a look at it.

    • Mr. Clark,

      The comment about revealing a student’s name was from me directed to M. Whittier. She has been vocal about the hearing examiner’s decision that the hearing was in my favor. The transcript of the hearing has much, much more evidence that supported my claims in the tweets when they have been read correctly. I explained that in a previous tweet. Your support of me and countless others gives me the confidence to proceed with this legal process. As the poet and writer Ogden Nash once said, “The truth will out” and the truth is found in the 76-page document at the Star-Telegram. As to your statement about the reporter who spread the lies, that will be dealt with after the dust settles from what is happening now. You are correct in your assessment of the situation and that can also be found in the document.

      We are close in age and being a teenager of the 60s, I understand your outrage in what has happened to me. That is why we must continue to fight the good fight and pray that God’s will be done.

  9. When this broke, I couldn’t think of anything more profoundly emblematic of Trump voters than an elderly English teacher misunderstanding social media so completely that she believed things written on *Twitter* were in any way private and petitioning the president as if he was the anointed savior and answered prayers. It’s sad when you think about it: if not for the racism and the fear, we’d simply have a case of hiraeth. Who among us doesn’t long for the world that was? You have my sympathy Georgia, but they were probably right to suspend you.

    • Eric,

      Yes, it is possible to send private tweets. Yes, it is possible to think that tweets are private when Twitter states that you can “send a message DIRECT to” someone and that is what Twitter advertised. You might want to look up the word “direct” in a dictionary. The hearing examiner’s decision – have you read it completely?

  10. Ms. Georgia Clark, madame you have been railroaded, and I would like to come to your aid, I will come speak for you at the next FWISD meeting, and will ask questions that will cut these public servants to the bone, they will likely put a badge on you and claim you innocent. That person who is pretty much a nutter for calling the whole board white supremacists isn’t worthy of comment. Best just to smile and back away slowly. You have been mistreated, abused, and they know it, and know it now, seeing I have stuck my nose in it. The way I see it, you have nothing to worry about, I have already got them backpedaling, and knocked them off their footing. If you allow me to come and say a few words, I will focus on them giving you a retraction/reinstatement. And assigned to a better performing school if there is one. The FWISD has gone down a lot the last few decades, those at the top seem to just be there for the check, no innovations, no insights on how to get kids taught the basics. Just muzzle the kids and hope for the best is what it appears they do now. I really should be running things at the FWISD. I thought about it before. But not to get off topic too much, but we need to defend your name, these people in high places are abusing you, and we need that to stop! FW Weekly isn’t going to allow us to talk frankly, honestly, it seems they delete posts that steer the flow of thought the direction they feel is best, which to me is censorship, and it is, to most people, but Mr. Prince thinks that if your post is just deleted its just a post that got deleted and didn’t matter I guess, even tho we are talking about your good name, doesn’t matter. I see this case going to court really, with a jury, if they don’t retract real soon and offer you a sweet deal to not make waves, the media who leaked this story, you need to go after them with impunity. Your good name has been abused, and it would seem you have plenty of evidence showing that. If you were not slandered slander isn’t slander any longer, every things ok for print. You have been used and abused, whether you know it or not, the media was baiting The President to get him, and you were thrown under the school bus to make it happen. Now roll up those sleeves and go get em!

    • Mr. Clark,

      I would appreciate your support at the board meeting. There is a procedure at the board’s website and you may have to call them to get on the schedule. Expect a large crowd of the group who do not want to know the truth of the matter there. They created a Facebook page to rally their gang against me. The special meeting will begin at 4:30 p.m. My attorney and I will not be there because I fear for my safety. When Betty Brink was alive, this would never have happened to me because she would get to the truth. She was the best investigative reporter the FWWeekly had.

      The broadcast is live and I will be there in spirit.

      Thank you again.

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