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Tattnall County Teacher Relieved of Coaching Duties Over Social Media Posts

A teacher at Tattnall County High School has been relieved of his coaching duties for one year due to comments made on social media. 

A teacher at Tattnall County High School has been relieved of his coaching duties for one year due to comments made on social media. 

Jordan Huerta (@jhuer_ta) | Twitter

Huerta (Twitter)

Tattnall County history teacher Jordan Huerta has been suspended from coaching for a period of one year, reportedly for comments he made on Facebook which elicited dialogue with a high school student and a parent. Huerta, a graduate of the school system himself who has worked in Tattnall County for three years, has coached softball, basketball, and baseball in various capacities at the high school since he began working there. His employment contract has not been impacted by the disciplinary matter, which came from the administration at the school system. 

The issue at hand in a disciplinary matter related to social media is not whether or not Huerta has free speech protections (which apply to government limitations and not employment discipline matters), but instead whether or not his comments violated the school system personnel policy on employee behavior on social media. Allison Cobb with the Journal Sentinel in Tattnall County said Monday that the school system does not have a social media policy for employees and AllOnGeorgia filed a public information request on the item Monday afternoon. At this time, it is not known which posts in particular led to administrative action against Huerta. 

Huerta frequently posts on current events on his personal social media accounts and wasamong the organizers for a recent Unity in the Community rally in Glennville, which was well attended by citizens and elected officials, including Glennville Mayor Bernie Weaver, Tattnall County Sheriff Kyle Sapp, and State Representative Bill Werkheiser.  

A gallery of recent posts made by Huerta as provided to AllOnGeorgia are below. Story continues below.

The news of the action spread on social media Monday afternoon and quickly garnered the attention of the Tattnall County community and TCHS students. JoAnn Anderson of the Tattnall County chapter of the NAACP posted in the ‘Tattnall Against Racism’ group that Huerta had the support of the organization. By Monday evening, a petition to reverse the disciplinary action had been launched on Change.org by a former student and garnered more than 1,200 signatures by lunch on Tuesday. “He is an educator, and yet, he is being punished for educating. Suspending him from coaching not only hurts him, but it also hurts the basketball team as a whole,” the petition reads. 

AllOnGeorgia reached out and requested a statement on how Huerta plans to move forward. His attorney, Bruce Dubberly, said Tuesday:

“Coach Huerta was called in for a meeting on June 24, 2020, and by the end of the meeting he was told that he would be suspended from coaching for the upcoming year. Administrators at Tattnall County High cited violations of his professionalism as a teacher for engaging in “both politically and racially charged banter with both a current student and parent, inciting unrest amongst a parent in regards to her child’s educator.”

Critically, no one informed Coach Huerta of the particular conversation or exchange that forms the basis of such an extremely serious allegation. First and foremost, Coach Huerta’s class and teaching have been observed 9 different times by administrators over the last two years – and not once was his professionalism called into question. Coach Huerta has been a coach at Tattnall County High since January 2017. And without notice, hearing, or even a detailed reason, he was relieved of his coaching duties – with no assurance of a return. This was a rush to judgment that has implications in both due process and free speech. The action taken against Coach Huerta was without question a punitive response to his duties as a teacher. Accordingly, he should be afforded due process rights under the Tattnall Board of Education’s policy and Georgia law.

Our hope is that this can be resolved amicably and expediently through reinstatement and renewal of Coach Huerta for the upcoming athletic year. Alternatively, we have requested a hearing in front of the Board of Education so that he can have the opportunity to see exactly what is contended by the High School to be “politically and racially charged banter” and an opportunity to defend himself. Should those opportunities be declined, we will seek alternative legal action through the courts.”

The Tattnall County School System is not able to comment publicly on personnel matters, but has said the matter is ongoing.

AllOnGeorgia has filed Open Records Requests with the school system seeking the school systems personnel policy on social media, recent directives to employees on social media activity, any complaints made about TCHS employees for non-academic matters, disciplinary documentation related to the aforementioned complaints, and the personnel file of Huerta. Due to the summer months and the upcoming holiday, however, the district office will not be able to fulfill the request until early next week. 

AllOnGeorgia will continue to follow this story as it develops. 

Jessica Szilagyi is a Statewide Contributor for AllOnGeorgia.com. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia. Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and has two blogs of her own: The Perspicacious Conservative and "Hair Blowers to Lawn Mowers."

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Nelda Smith

    June 30, 2020 at 1:09 pm

    FIRE HIM ! HOPEFULLY CHARGES CAN BE BROUGHT AGAINST HIM FOR ENCOURAGING YOUTH TO PERFORM ILLEGAL ACTS!

    • Avatar

      Tom

      June 30, 2020 at 1:16 pm

      What illegal acts did this man encourage youths to perform? Where did you read this? Please explain your misinterpretation of facts.

    • Avatar

      Alum

      June 30, 2020 at 1:27 pm

      Protesting isn’t illegal Karen. 🙄 I wish I had more teachers like him when I was there!

      • Avatar

        Ish Mail

        July 3, 2020 at 1:25 am

        There’s a reason you didn’t have teachers like him.
        It’s wrong for a teacher to be biased. They are raising the next generation while you are living in the past.

    • Avatar

      Kevin

      June 30, 2020 at 2:02 pm

      Did you even read the article in full? Did you read his actual posts and comments? Your hateful and uninformed vitriol has no place here or anywhere for that matter.

      • Avatar

        Vincent

        July 4, 2020 at 6:06 pm

        The lostsin this article are not the posts.

  2. Avatar

    Bill

    June 30, 2020 at 1:51 pm

    Hi Nelda, you are up to day with 1968 laws but not 2020. Best of luck getting some education, have you contacted this teacher so he can help out with your history lessons?

    https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/when-the-supreme-court-ruled-to-allow-american-flag-burning#:~:text=In%201968%2C%20Congress%20approved%20the,burning%20or%20trampling%20upon%20it.%E2%80%9D

  3. Avatar

    Kevin

    June 30, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    @Nelda

    Did you even read the article in full? Did you read his actual posts and comments? Your hateful and uninformed vitriol has no place here or anywhere for that matter.

  4. Avatar

    Spinks

    July 1, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    A teachers job is to teach. He needs to keep his personal opinions to himself.

    • Avatar

      Sam Squanch

      July 3, 2020 at 1:22 am

      Finally. Someone gets it.

  5. Avatar

    Why the fuck would I give you my name.

    July 3, 2020 at 12:56 am

    You can’t be a teacher and be biased.
    Figured people would have learnt that by now. But ‘Merica. Let him do his job long as he keeps his mouth shut

  6. Avatar

    Rob Bass

    July 3, 2020 at 1:03 am

    You’d think he would be smart enough to keep his opinions to himself. Times we are living in are too shaky to be playing around with. Dude is a teacher. Shouldn’t be preaching his opinions online.

  7. Avatar

    Sky daddy

    July 3, 2020 at 1:19 am

    The stupidity of Americans never ceases to amaze me. He is held at a higher level because he is a teacher. Spouting politics online in such a small town was bound to backfire. I don’t understand how one wouldn’t think ahead about the consequences that was bound to happen.

  8. Avatar

    Doug Day

    July 3, 2020 at 5:26 am

    Thats the problem with this guy being a history teacher. Its the problem with indoctrination in this country now. Literally rewriting history. Anyome with an education knows the civil war started because of tariffs and unfair industrial practices. Lincoln never mentioned slavery until the union was losing and he needed more support. Furthermore, He is sitting there fanning the flames by posting the nascar noose hoax by Bubba Smollet. Then he basically supports these rejects teating down and defacing war monuments, abolitionists, our founding fathers. Its disgusting. You wanna put confederate statues in a museum I am fine with that. Something abput history he should know is the reason these statues are everywhere was for reunification of the states and remembrances of the families that lost their loved ones. Are there racists involved, sure! Just like there is today and will be 500 years from now. The confederate flag is actually just one variation of many battle flags. The Georgia flag now is basically the Confederate States of America flag. Nobody knows becaue they font know theor HISTORY. Also ot wasnt highjacked by the KKK. He aint teaching that, cause he is ignorant and wants to have his 2 cents. About the only thing he got right was the flag burning. However at the end of the day, why does this guy have students and parents on his facebook??? Kinda weird…

  9. Avatar

    Vene'

    July 14, 2020 at 2:11 pm

    Saying that a teacher shouldn’t have an opinion (or bias) is like asking an individual to not be a human. Regardless of whether you agree with what he said or not, Mr. Huerta was frequently quoting directly from The Constitution. His opinions serve to make people think, not to make your kids take his view. If you think he’s trying to make students adopt his opinions as their own, then you’re not giving your kid credit for having the smarts to form his/her own opinion. Just in case you’re wondering, I’m a female, retired, US Army, combat veteran…defended people’s right to even have that conversation with Mr. Huerta in a public forum. In some countries, some would have been thrown in jail. You want him to keep his opinions to himself while teaching kids? I bet at least one of the kids in his classes asked him his opinion. These days, there are so many ways to research and find answers to things. Give your kids credit for having a brain.

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