So if you haven't seen the viral video blowing up Tiktok or any of the following aftershock, a woman named Patricia Smith A.K.A. the "Kings Lake Karen," has been placed on leave from her position as a special needs educator for the Collier County School District after she was blasted on Tiktok "hurling racist taunts at a mother and her children who she thought were trespassing in her neighborhood."
According to a woman who was the one to film the entire incident, she was on a stroll with her kids one weekend, and Patricia was "bombarding them with abuse," which I will not post here due to the sensitive nature of the outburst. The attacks were mainly focused at the children, to which you can hear the mom saying "wow...wow" as she filmed.
The Collier County School District issued a statement saying they were "aware of the video" and that they were reviewing the incident.
And though Kings Lake Karen is officially being housed on administrative leave at the Administrative center until the investigation is finished, you have to wonder, why wasn't she fired outright? Yes, it's no secret school districts have a very strict set of rules they must follow when firing a teacher, there must be cause. The question is: is a racist tirade enough cause?
Local defense attorney Mike Carr says the matter "toes the line between Freedom of Speech and misconduct," though he feels Kings Lake Karen's behavior is "reprehensible" and that it "sounds like she needs help."
A violation of Freedom of Speech is exactly what Amy Donofrio, a teacher who was fired for not taking down her Black Lives Matter banner from the classroom, which earned her reassignment to "warehouse duties" after violating the Critical Race Theory bill set in place earlier this year, is suing for.
Donofrio started a legal battle with Duval County Public school system, citing that "the school violated her right to free speech and wants a jury trial." And just yesterday, news came out that the school system is now settling the lawsuit for $300,000 after she was barred from her job and from applying to any others in the district.
About the case, though he was careful not to mention any one by name, Richard Cocoran, the Florida State Education Commissioner, said:
“I’m getting sued right now in Duval County, which is Jacksonville, because it was an entire classroom memorialized to Black Lives Matter. We made sure she was terminated, and now we’re being sued by every one of the liberal left groups for freedom of speech issues."
A student-lead petition was even passed around for Donofrio, who was said to be "an advocate for racial equality and social justice."
It's safe to say a "racist tirade" with viral video evidence is pretty different, so does Patricia deserve to go down for her choices? Until the investigation is complete, there's no way to know. Rules have to be followed, but many are calling for her immediate removal.
The story involving Patricia has flooded the internet being shared from major news sources to George Takei's fan page, and hundreds of commenters are sharing their thoughts, with people saying teachers have been fired for "much less." Others say regardless of her free speech, that they "guarantee she's violated the terms of her employment contract which likely has a good conduct clause."
So what are your thoughts? Did Patricia get off too easy for being put on leave for her awful outburst? Let me know in the comments!
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