TATTNALL CO., Ga. (WSAV) – Tattnall County High School (TCHS) is doubling down on the decision to question a teacher for a conversation on social media. The school says the teacher’s comments violated ethical standards.
A written statement from Harben, Hartley & Hawkins, LLC — the law firm representing the school — identifies the post and conversation in question.
TCHS says it started with a post by history teacher Jordan Huerta, which called into question the history of Confederate symbols on Georgia’s state flag. In the post, he advocates for their removal and calls them racist.
A student — who WSAV will not identify — then chimes in asking Huerta why he believes the symbol is racist and says he “has a few Black friends that support the Confederate flag.”
Defending his original stance, Huerta answers the student’s questions and explains why a majority of African Americans do not support the symbol. He calls the student’s friends ignorant for their lack of knowledge of the subject.
The student’s mother then involves herself in the conversation, at which point Huerta says she has a right to choose which teachers instruct their children.
Attorneys for TCHS say Huerta violated ethical standards by “creating the perception that Tattnall County High School supports the theory that teacher inadequacy can result in parental requests for a teacher of their liking.”
Huerta’s attorney argues, “we do not know of any language in any handbook that reflects this exact reason. We also reiterate that the Tattnall County Board of Education has no official policy on social media posts.”
Huerta originally claimed the school suspended him from coaching sports for one year over the dispute. In the original letter to Huerta from school administrators, he is accused of “engaging in both politically and racially charged banter with a current student and parent.”
In the school’s latest statement, they blame a since-rescinded letter of resignation, a new head coach, and pandemic-related concerns for the decision to take Huerta off the sidelines. Attorney Reagan G. Sauls says a rule states no teacher has a right to keep their coaching responsibilities.
Huerta calls most of the reasoning irrelevant. He says that information was made available months ago and that he was not suspended from coaching until the social media posts came to light.
“It appears that maybe this additional coaching duty… replaced Huerta’s time to meet the standards for all teachers,” said Sauls.
Sauls says Huerta had the option to remedy the situation through a process laid out in the Tattnall County Board of Education policy. He claims Huerta did not attempt to do so.
Huerta’s attorney, on the other hand, said the following about his opportunity to remedy the situation:
Coach Huerta has not failed to use any dispute resolution procedures under the Tattnall County BOE Policy. He was never afforded the right or given the opportunity to pursue them prior to his suspension. Regardless, the Policy procedures referenced by the Board are inapplicable based upon the Exclusions section under Policy GAE: Complaints and Grievances.”Bruce D. Dubberly IV
Huerta and his attorney are hoping for a resolution, but if that does not work, they are “filing in the Superior Court of Tattnall County.”