Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath ruled Monday that the series of tweets sent in May by Georgia Clark — an English teacher at Carter-Riverside High School in Fort Worth — were protected by the First Amendment and thus she should return to the Fort Worth Independent School District.
Clark, whose Twitter account has since been deleted, is now entitled to return to the classroom with back pay and employment benefits or district officials can fork over one year’s salary.
The teacher was fired in June after seeking assistance from Trump in a thread of tweets that she said she thought were private messages to the commander-in-chief, Clark later told a district investigator.
“Mr. President, Fort Worth Independent School District is loaded with illegal students from Mexico,” one message sent on May 17 read. “Carter-Riverside High School has been taken over by them.”
In another tweet, Clark said her earlier attempts to “remove the illegals” were rebuffed by local and federal authorities in Fort Worth, where 34 percent of residents are Hispanic or Latino, census data shows. She also referred to a "Hispanic assistant principal who protects certain students from criminal prosecution."
The superintendent, Kent Scribner, said in a statement, "We stand by our decision because we firmly believe this is in the best interests of all students." The school district said it would be appealing the state's ruling, but the appeal would be adjudicated by the same agency that moved to reinstate Clark, the Washington Examiner reported.
A spokeswoman for the district, meanwhile, characterized Morath’s decision as a technicality, adding that all options are now being explored.
“This is all we are going to say right now as we have not yet had a chance to review and analyze the entire decision,” spokeswoman Barbara Griffith told the newspaper.