Facebook post costs teacher her job…again

Nothing truly dies on the internet. Just ask Karen Fitzgibbons.

Nearly two years ago, I shared how Fitzgibbons was fired from her teaching job with the Freship ISD, a school district in Lubbock, Texas. Her termination was the result of a post about in incident in McKinney, Texas in which a police officer manhandled a black female teen and aimed his gun at other unarmed black teens over what started as an argument over access to a neighborhood swimming pool.  Fitzgibbons’ reaction over this was to call for a return to racial segregation.

“I’m going to just go ahead and say it … the blacks are the ones causing the problems and this ‘racial tension.’ I guess that’s what happens when you flunk out of school and have no education. I’m sure their parents are just as guilty for not knowing what their kids were doing; or knew it and didn’t care. I’m almost to the point of wanting them all segregated on one side of town so they can hurt each other and leave the innocent people alone. Maybe the 50s and 60s were really on to something. Now, let the bashing of my true and honest opinion begin….GO! #imnotracist #imsickofthemcausingtrouble #itwasatagedcommunity”

Shortly after her ouster, Fitzgibbons landed a job as a third grade teacher with Waco ISD.  About a month after her hire, district officials expressed their regret in hiring her, saying that they had not fully vetted her background.  Simply put, they didn’t look into the full story behind why she had lost her previous job. However, because Fitzgibbons didn’t hide this when she applied, her new employer was obligated to honor her one-year contract..  According to Waco ISD, they would not renew her contract and she was not allowed to have access to social media.

Just a few weeks shy of her contract’s expiration, Fitzgibbons resigned.  She simply stated that she was pursuing another opportunity.  It might seem odd that she resigned at this time but, in some instances, resigning allows a teacher to avoid having to answer on a job application when asked if their last employer opted to not renew their contract.

In the wake of this situation, Waco ISD says it is implementing better hiring practices.

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An opinionated technologist, JP launched Death By Social Media when he saw just how easily and how often people's misunderstanding/abuse of social media created personal catastrophes. As a result, he wanted to provide a resource that would provide cautionary tales for those seeking to avoid similar fates.