School board delays decision on teachers who sent insensitive texts

School board delays decision on teachers who sent insensitive texts
The Houston County School Board meets on December 9, 2019. (Source: WTVY)

DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - The Houston County School Board on Monday delayed a vote regarding what, if any action, to take against several Ashford teachers who shared inappropriate text messages with each other.

Superintendent David Sewell said a procedural matter surfaced during a private meeting between the board and its attorney.

“It’s just rewording of some of the recommendations (on what action to take). It wasn’t in what was recommended but just the wording,” Sewell told WTVY.

The postponement left some who waited nearly two hours for a vote angered. “This is the second time they have put us off and it's just not fair,” concerned citizen Bennie Teague said. The board first considered the matter last month but also postponed that vote.

The Ashford teachers intended to share the messages, that included a racial slur and blatant sexual comments about students, among themselves. However one pupil, who may have committed a crime in doing so, obtained those messages and posted the thread on social media.

“It's wrong and (the teachers) should have been fired yesterday, period,” said Curtis Harvey, pastor of Rhema Rock Church in Dothan. Harvey is also a Houston County commissioner but stressed that he commented only in his capacity as a religious leader.

Despite increased pressure from the NAACP and The Ordinary People's Society to terminate the teachers, that seems unlikely. Sewell admits the Houston County school system has no policy to govern these type situations.

That angers former local NAACP president Franklin Jones. “We're concerned that children are going to have to sit in the same classroom with professionals that don't respect them and it sounds like they don't like them.

The State Board of Education has indicated it may get involved, depending on what the board does Wednesday when it will next consider the matter.

Copyright 2019 WTVY. All rights reserved.