A Texas high school teacher who was fired after tweeting to President Trump that her school was full of “illegal students from Mexico” has won an appeal to be reinstated in her job, according to the Associated Press.
Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath ruled Monday that Carter-Riverside High School English teacher Georgia Clark’s tweet was protected speech under the First Amendment, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
Morath also ruled that Clark is entitled to back pay and benefits, or the Fort Worth Independent School District can pay her a year’s salary.
“It appears the commissioner ruled the way he did based on a technicality and we are exploring all of our options,” said Barbara Griffith, a spokeswoman for the school district. “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.”
State law gives the district 20 days to ask for a hearing, based on a specific point it feels was ignored. If that request is made, the Texas agency would have 45 days to rule on the request.
Any additional appeal would come in the form of a lawsuit in district court.
Earlier this year, several tweets from a Twitter account that used Clark’s name asked the president to crack down on student immigration at the school. One tweet asked him to help remove “illegals from Fort Worth.”
Her tweets sparked an outcry, and the district placed Clark on administrative leave in May. In June, the district board unanimously voted to fire Clark. She told a district investigator that her tweet was meant only for Trump’s eyes and that she didn’t realize her tweets could be seen by the public.
In August, an independent hearing examiner suggested that the board reinstate Clark after finding her job termination unjustifiable. But the board rejected the recommendation and upheld the decision to fire her.