A teacher’s aide at a Georgia elementary school has been fired after posts she wrote on Facebook surfaced last week, enraging community members and people across the country who saw her words shared widely online.

In them, the aide, Jane Wood Allen, called first lady Michelle Obama a “gorilla” repeatedly and said she is a “disgrace to America!” according to images of the now-deleted posts obtained by local media.

Many Facebook users immediately called for her termination and used the hashtag #FireJaneWoodAllen. “I am disgusted that this woman is an ELEMENTARY SCHOOL EMPLOYEE,” one woman wrote on Facebook. “Please if you’re sickened by this like I am email the superintendent and file a complaint!”

On Monday, the district announced the aide had been “relieved from duty and is no longer an employee of Forsyth County Schools.”

Allen worked as a paraprofessional, or teacher’s aide, at Chestatee Elementary School in Gainesville, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The school is part of a majority white district, data shows, with black students making up just 3.15 percent of the student body.

Can or should your employer use comments made on Facebook and other social media against you professionally?  Should this woman sue?  Is it a first amendment issue?

First of all, I think her remarks were hideous.  I like Michelle Obama and think she is a fine first lady.   I would like for her to be fired.  However, she works for a government agency–Forsyth County Schools.  Is that the government controlling your speech?

How about blogs? Can what you say on blogs be used against you  by your employer?

I vote for firing the woman.  Free speech isn’t free.  She was offensive, she represents the county and she influences children.

9 Thoughts to “Teacher aide fired for racist remarks on Facebook”

  1. As much as I’m for free-speech and how overblown political correctness has gotten recently, this is WAY over the line. Since I tend to look at events from multiple angles I wonder: a) Is Ms. Allen’s dislike for FLOTUS known amongst her co-workers and administrators, b) Would this outrage be close if similar comments were directed toward FLOTUS 40 (Nancy Reagan), 41 (Barbara Bush), or 43 (Laura Bush), and c) Does Forsyth County Schools screen a potential employee’s social media prior to making a job offer?

    1. What excellent questions, Joe! I found the remarks totally unacceptable on so many levels. Yet…I am a defender of free speech. I still vote for firing her just because she is a nasty, vicious fool! The particular imagery makes it just not comparable to anything else.

      I have thought about the other first ladies you mentioned. I can’t even come up with something that would get someone fired. That is qhat makes your question so interesting and worthy of discussion.

  2. Ed

    You don’t fire her because of the political speech. You fire her because she can no longer do the job she was hired to do. It is a subtle difference lost depending on whomever’s ox is being gored. The school district was distracted from their mission of educating students because an employee created a viral Facebook post that generated a lot of media attention that encompassed the employer in a negative light. What she said is immaterial from this perspective. Anything controversial is a problem.

    If an employer does look at the content, they might justify firing her for failing to be the role model of polite civil political discord that the employer wants to instill in impressionable children. She fails to teach children to be civil by not being civil herself.

    Now if she had said this anonymously and the employer discovered it because it was snooping on her internet activity, then I’d have a problem with them firing her. In this case the speech had no direct impact on the employer’s mission or her job. I’d still find the content distasteful, but that’s what the 1A protects.

    One caveat: if this is what comes out of her head off duty, I’d wonder what comes out of her mouth in the classroom.

    1. Its horrible to imagine what comes out of her mouth in the classroom.

  3. Pat.Herve

    this is a tough one. Her personal time should not be micromanaged by her employer, and I also think an employer should not be sued because an individual is a jerk.

    1. This one is absolutely not a binary situation!

  4. George Harris

    Social media has certainly been a game changer when it comes to 1A. I, too, agree she should be fired but her firing may not stand. There is no threat here, just ugly speech. POTUS and FLOTUS have been the victim of more personal insults than any others I suspect thanks to social media and deep racial hatred that we have yet to admit.

    It does make you wonder if her attitude carries over to the classroom. How does she treat students of color?

  5. There is a similar situation going on right here in Virginia at UVA. Doug Muir has been removed because of FB comments:

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