Red-faced Waco Independent School District officials announced last week they hired without fully vetting a teacher who had lost her previous job last year after a racially provocative Facebook post regarding an uproar over a white McKinney police officer’s arrest of a black teen during a pool party gone awry. Among the more constructive comments from our Facebook page:
Terri Lynn Brown: This individual’s situation aside, how does any school district hire people without a thorough background check? She got in trouble for being stupid on social media, but what about hiring people who are going to be around children and have done much worse and possess the potential to do much worse than this woman.
Allison Lueck: I could swear I read that she disclosed the previous incident.
Terri Lynn Brown: Allison, she did discuss part of what went on but apparently didn’t think they’d find out the bigger picture. After she was hired, everything came out.
Melissa Waden Wray: She disclosed that her termination resulted from an incident involving a Facebook post about race but not the post itself. It didn’t sound like she was trying to hide anything. I’m sure she assumed they’d look into it or ask for more information. It sounds like the district acknowledges there was a breakdown in the due diligence process. Mistakes happen. They’ve handled it appropriately and I’m sure will take steps to ensure a similar error doesn’t happen again.
Tiffany Gallegos Fry: I do think there needs to be clarification on background checks. WISD does perform criminal background checks for potential hires. This is done before formally hiring a candidate, so that would disqualify people with criminal offenses that are against district policy (i.e. sexual offenses against children). Uncovering termination details is another aspect of the hiring process. I don’t know Frenship ISD’s policy, but there are employers who are limited by policy in the amount of information they can disclose about former employees.
Huntington Henry: Why do they go after only whites for making remarks on social media? All you have to do is go on those black teachers and administrators’ web pages and you will see.
Anna Villarreal: It’s not only whites they go after.
Lisa Villanueva: No district is perfect. I’m not defending the lady and no college is perfect, just like churches. Does everyone know exactly what everyone does in their district, college or church? Waco ISD is not perfect by any means, but who is to say your district is? My opinion.
Aaron Michael: Kudos to the principal, who seems to have not shirked blame but rather demonstrated an example of accepting one’s actions and recognizing when there was a mistake without trying to justify or minimize. A lesson lost on much of society today.