The teacher Waco Independent School District officials hired last year, then reassigned after learning she had been previously fired for making a racist social media post supporting segregation has resigned, school officials said Tuesday.
Karen Fitzgibbons resigned in February after telling district officials she had another opportunity she wanted to pursue, Waco ISD spokesperson Bruce Gietzen said. It is unclear what that opportunity was.
“I didn’t ask her where (she was going) out of respect to her privacy,” Gietzen said Tuesday. “It was an amicable parting. She did everything she was asked to do while working for Waco ISD, and she left on her own accord. She was not pressured by us in any way.”
Fitzgibbons was initially hired in July as a third-grade teacher at Hillcrest Elementary School but was moved to a nonteaching position in the administration building once district officials learned about the incident.
Fitzgibbons’ post in 2015 came in response to a McKinney police officer’s resignation after video showed a dispute at a swimming pool where the officer wrestled a black girl to the ground. Fitzgibbons in her Facebook post suggested she might support segregation “so they can hurt each other and leave the innocent people alone.” She apologized for the post, according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, and was let go from Frenship ISD shortly after.
Waco ISD officials said in August that Fitzgibbons was upfront in the hiring process about her firing, but that they were not aware of the details until later because a thorough background check had not been done.
A Google search of Fitzgibbons’ name returns several pages of results and news headlines related to the post and her subsequent termination.
Because Fitzgibbons was upfront, the district had to honor the one-year contract they initially agreed on. District officials also said at the time her contract would not be renewed at the end of the year. School districts typically go through a process of deciding whether to renew contracts during the last few months of each school year.
Fitzgibbons was expected to go through sensitivity training by Waco ISD during her term and was not allowed to have access to social media while she worked with the district, officials said earlier this year.
Waco ISD has since implemented better policies to streamline its hiring process and is ensuring that proper procedures are followed, Gietzen said.