Jackson County Teacher Accused of Racial Slur Has Fate Decided

By: Ryan Rodig Email
By: Ryan Rodig Email

Emotions were riding high at the Jackson County School Board meeting Thursday in Marianna.

Many parents and concerned residents came for the most part to support the removal of Marianna Middle School world geography teacher Greg Howard.

Howard, who's worked for the Jackson County District for just under 20 years, reportedly told his students and wrote on a chalkboard that the "N" in the acronym CHANGE (referring to the Democratic presidential campaign) stood for a racial expletive.

An overflow crowd listened to Superintendent Daniel Sims announce his proposal for Howard's punishment. It included:

- Two week suspension without pay (roughly $2,500)
- Written reprimand
-Termination of coaching duties and forfeiture of the balance of his coaching supplement.
-Letter of apology to the students involved.
-Diversity/Sensitivity training
-Transfer to Adult Education effective October 16th

Most who spoke Thursday said they wanted a zero tolerance policy toward these type of situations. Many suggested Howard be fired.

"After meeting with students at my church and parents there," said Rev. Riley Henderson. "I have found a pattern of incidents."

"This has hurt her(my daughter) deeply," said parent Ron Mitchell. "As a father I can not and will not stand for it. As a deacon in my church my God would not allow you to let this happen to our children."

Attorney Benjamin Crump, out of Tallahassee, says firing Howard would hold up in court. He points to Florida Statute 1012.33 that says a school district may dismiss a contract employee at any time for just cause.

Crump also cited Education Practices Commission v. Ferrell as a similar case that led to a teacher certificate being suspended.

But in the end Superintendent Sims decided not to change his proposal and Board voted in favor of the disciplinary action 3-2.

Recently an African-American teacher at Marianna High was accused of using a racial slur and profanity. Superintendent Sims says that investigation is ongoing and has not yet resulted in a suspension.

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