A Duncanville teacher has been suspended without pay pending discharge after the school district saw a profanity-laced tweet she posted Friday, district officials said.
Duncanville Independent School District Director of External Communication Lari Barager told NBC 5 the account was deleted so the district cannot review the full conversation, but as far as they can tell, it appears the tweet was a response to critical comments she received from a previous post regarding issues in Ferguson, Missouri.
NBC 5 confirmed with DISD the caption of the now-deleted-tweet shared now across social media is the tweet from the account associated with Vinita Hegwood.
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"Early this morning district officials met with Ms. Hegwood, the teacher who state reprehensible personal opinions on her personal social media account. The district took swift action and exercised the fullest disciplinary action allowed under district policy. Ms. Hegwood was placed on suspension without pay pending discharge. Under state law, a school district’s Board of Trustees “fires” staff member, and the district will pursue that action with the board soon. In the meantime, the teacher has been placed on suspensions without pay pending discharge.
The district wants the community to know that the actions of this one individual does not and should not represent the school district. Every day, two hundred and forty Duncanville High School teachers provide a school environment that fosters academic excellence, good citizenship and respect for others. Teachers give their life’s work to shaping the future, and this one individual does not represent our staff or our district.”
In addition to the district's formal statement, spokeswoman Lari Barager said district employees have a right to free speech, but that "in a situation like this, when it's so offensive, the administrators, including the superintendent of schools and the principal of that school, have the right and ability to recommend discharge."
Hegwood met with district administrators Monday morning, officials said. The district is expected to make a final decision on Hegwood's future at the school board meeting on Dec. 8
While much of the response online has been that of outrage, parent Jason Kile, whose daughter is currently in Ms. Hegwood’s class, says she is a good teacher.
Kile says he requested his daughter be in Ms. Hegwood’s class this year after his other daughter had such great success with her last year.
Kile says he wants the opportunity to speak out in support of Hegwood so he reached out to the school district.
“I am just floored that one sentence taken out of context, we don’t even know the rest of the story of this tweet, is taken and suddenly turned into the reason to fire this woman,” Kile said.
We reached out to Hegwood Monday for comment but have not yet heard back.
NBC 5's Josh Ault and Jocelyn Lockwood contributed to this report.