A third grade teacher from Houston, Texas decided to resign from her job, after a huge backlash over her comments about Barack Obama and Muslims made it difficult for her to continue her career when many blasted her as being a “racist.” The staunch Conservative had appeared as a panelist on a local political program called Tommy’s Garage”, in which she jokingly said she wished “Ebola would take out Obama,” and made references to Muslims as “goat f**kers” and “bacon haters.”
Angela Box says the show makes fun of all political points of view, and had minimal viewership until a local reporter saw the episode and did what she describes as a “malicious and biased” news story. She says that led to further controversy, including a visit to the school from a black community leader who accused her in a written statement of using racial epithets in front of her class. He later admitted his statement was inaccurate, but the damage was done.
The teacher held on to her job for a few weeks, but ultimately tendered her resignation at a meeting of the Houston Independent School District Board. The board accepted her resignation, and provided her three months salary as severance. A spokewoman for the district said:
I think that the message that it sends is that there are consequences. That you won’t necessarily be able to remain in an educator position if you do the sorts of things that she did on her public access TV show.
Representatives from The Council on American-Islamic Relations were also present at the meeting. Executive Director Mustafaa Caroll said:
Her demeanor on the show is very inappropriate for someone who is a third grade teacher. We’ve had several cases within the last couple of years where teachers are actually the bullies of Muslim kids in school and that really disturbs us so even though she didn’t do that, it was pretty close to telling us what type of person she was.
Box issued this statement:
I will deeply miss my students at Ray K. Daily Elementary School. These early years of growth and learning are a magical time, and I will always treasure the moments I had with each of them. Unfortunately, the character assassination I suffered at the hands of Quannel X, the New Black Panther Party, The New Black Muslims, and others ruined any chance of continuing this journey with my students. His false statements and threats of violence made the situation at my school simply impossible for everyone.
As I have said before, opposing President Obama and sounding the alarm about radical Islam does not make me a racist. I did not make the statements containing the racial epithets Mr. X attributed to me, as he has since admitted. However, the damage to me has been done.
What do you think? Should the private actions and speech of a public school teacher be protected under the First Amendment?