Vinita Hegwood, a High School English Teacher from Duncanville, was suspended with pay and will be terminated from her position as a teacher because of some off-color comments she made on Twitter.
From The Root:
"A Duncanville, TX English teacher has been suspended over a tweet that has been described as racially charged. Friday evening, Vinita Hegwood posted the following tweet to her account:
'Who the [expletive] made you dumb duck ass crackers think I give a squat [expletive] about your opinions about my opinions RE: Ferguson? Kill yourselves.'The district took swift action and exercised the fullest disciplinary action allowed under district policy. Ms. Hegwood was placed on suspension without pay pending discharge. Under state law, a school district’s Board of Trustees “fires” staff members, and the district will pursue that action with the board soon"
I understand that what this teacher said was insensitive, racially offensive, and certainly unacceptable. But so far as I understand the story-she made these posts on her private Twitter account on her own off-duty time, under her twitter handle, a pseudonym.
While I in no way want to sound like I support what she said, I support everyone's right to free speech. I strongly support that! I also feel that an immediate termination over someone expressing their right to free speech-- with an obviously heavy dose of sarcasm and hyperbole in her tweet--- will have an icy, polar effect on honest discourse. Fire her? Really? What about counseling, a suspension, and sensitivity training?
I don't agree with what she said, I dislike it. However, what was the context of the exchange? What was the pretext for her aggressive, hate-filled tweet. We don't know. So It is one and done?
The only thing I can think from this, what seems to be an overly robust punishment for an off-duty, non-illegal act, is that this district wanted this teacher out or that she already had numerous disciplinary issues.
Barring that, I simply do not see how this action will stand in the courts. If it is upheld, will this be living proof that free speech no longer exists in America?