Authorities in a rural Georgia school district are punishing a history instructor who seemingly dedicated all of his spare time to teaching students. The district banned the beloved educator from coaching after administrators charged the man with a heinous rule violation—the history teacher was teaching history.
Jordan Huerta has been teaching history at Tattnall County High School in Reidsville, Ga., for three years, according to All on Georgia and the Tattnall Journal-Sentinel. Aside from teaching history, Huerta coaches baseball, basketball and football as well as leading a mentoring program for Tattnall students, 90 percent of whom come from low-income families, according to Great Schools. Huerta also somehow finds time for more activities such as organizing a community rally and protest in his hometown.
Needless to say, Jordan Huerta is a good man.*
* Good men do not make it in America. No story that called someone a “good man” has ever ended well.
Huerta often finds time to post thoughtful, anti-racist comments on Facebook, including:
- Sharing an article where he dutifully recounted to his right-wing friends why flag-burning was protected by the First Amendment.
- Explaining how it isn’t any more disrespectful to the U.S. flag than the beloved “thin blue line” flag adored by people who wear wraparound sunglasses.
- Breaking down the historical truths on why Confederate flags are racist.
- Patiently telling one of his friends when nooses “became inherently racist” (Hint: He replied “as recently as the Jim Crow era.”)
- Posts illustrating the statistics behind disproportionate police shootings.
- A cartoon supporting Black Lives Matter
I assume Huerta made all of these posts on the toilet because, when else would he have the time? However, none of the 23 posts from Huerta that were forwarded to The Root contained profanity, offensive language or a single lie. But, the history teacher teaching history online somehow violated the school’s “behavior policy.” So, even though the school does not have a social media policy, the Tattnall County school district relieved Huerta of his coaching duties for one year.
The issue at hand in a disciplinary matter related to social media is not whether or not Huerta has free speech protections (which apply to government limitations and not employment discipline matters), but instead whether or not his comments violated the school system personnel policy on employee behavior on social media. Allison Cobb with the Journal Sentinel in Tattnall County said Monday that the school system does not have a social media policy for employees and AllOnGeorgia filed a public information request on the item Monday afternoon. At this time, it is not known which posts in particular led to administrative action against Huerta.
And, while Huerta’s representatives would not address my suspicion that Huerta is actually a clone and there are three Jordan Huertas, his attorney did issue this statement:
Coach Huerta was called in for a meeting on June 24, 2020, and by the end of the meeting he was told that he would be suspended from coaching for the upcoming year. Administrators at Tattnall County High cited violations of his professionalism as a teacher for engaging in “both politically and racially charged banter with both a current student and parent, inciting unrest amongst a parent in regards to her child’s educator.”
Critically, no one informed Coach Huerta of the particular conversation or exchange that forms the basis of such an extremely serious allegation. First and foremost, Coach Huerta’s class and teaching have been observed 9 different times by administrators over the last two years – and not once was his professionalism called into question. Coach Huerta has been a coach at Tattnall County High since January 2017. And without notice, hearing, or even a detailed reason, he was relieved of his coaching duties – with no assurance of a return. This was a rush to judgment that has implications in both due process and free speech. The action taken against Coach Huerta was without question a punitive response to his duties as a teacher. Accordingly, he should be afforded due process rights under the Tattnall Board of Education’s policy and Georgia law.
Huerta’s attorney went on to say that the teacher requested a hearing with the school board to see what “politically and racially charged banter” was used but I think we can add one and one together. (I swear I wasn’t teaching without a license!) Meanwhile, Huerta has seen an outpouring of support and students have even organized a Change.org petition asking the school board to reverse the disciplinary action.
Citing personnel laws and privacy concerns, the Tattnall County School Board has not responded to The Root’s request for comment.
However, I did tell him about that “good man” shit.