TATTNALL CO., Ga. (WSAV) – A southeast Georgia high school history teacher and sports coach says school administrators ambushed him last week with devastating news: for one year, he can no longer coach.
“If I have purpose in my life, life can be a lot easier… They’re my purpose and I don’t want to lose my purpose,” said Tattnall County native Jordan Huerta of his players on the girl’s basketball and softball teams.
In a letter to Huerta from school administrators, he is accused of “engaging in both politically and racially charged banter with a current student and parent.”
Huerta says he has posted often throughout his 3-year tenure at the school about Southern and African American history, which he also incorporates in his curriculum. Before last week, he says it has never been a problem.
“I was shocked,” he said. “I did not expect that to come down in any way whatsoever, especially since I had never been given a warning or an informal talking to about this.”
The letter from school administrators says Huerta’s posts are “a major concern” and unprofessional. But he says administrators never showed him the post(s) in question.
“I use my knowledge that I have learned — that I have spend money on to learn — to try and create conversations, uncomfortable conversations, but conversations that need to be had,” he said of his posts, which often call confederate symbols into question and share little-known stories of the Civil War.
Huerta and his attorney say there are no hard feelings, but want the school to reverse its decision to suspend Huerta from coaching or hold a hearing to discuss the facts of the case.
A petition to do that is gaining traction online. As of 6:30 on Thursday evening, it has nearly 3,000 signatures.
“I feel like teachers need to have an outlet to speak about racial injustice because it goes on every day inside the school, especially at Tattnall County High School,” said Noah Mongomery, a former student.
“This is the type of information that our community needs to hear because the thing is: our community has never heard it before,” said Huerta.
Huerta says his personal opinions are never brought up in the field, on the court or in the classroom.
Superintendent Gina Williams sent News 3 the following statement:
Tattnall County School District is investigating a complaint regarding the teacher’s comments on social media, therefore we will not be commenting on the investigation. It is my understanding that Mr. Huerta’s social media page is public. In general, I can say that no teacher has been “suspended” due to any content of their social media posts at this time. Tattnall County School District does expect all of our employees to be professional in any exchanges they have with students and parents of students, in person and on social media.”GINA WILLIAMS