Dublin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Chuck Ledbetter tells 41NBC the incident happened three weeks ago inside a classroom at Dublin Middle School. He says the teacher shared a "political opinion" that did not sit well with the family of one of her students.
“We work to build bridges with students, not build walls,” Ledbetter said. “And talking politics, especially giving political opinions, can be very divisive."
According to a letter from the Dublin Laurens NAACP posted on the Laurens County Democratic Party Facebook page, the teacher told her students President Obama is not a Christian and "any parent who supports him is not a Christian." She also challenged her students to “prove their Christianity.”
According to the civil rights group, the parents met several days later with the teacher and her husband, who is a Dublin City School board member. Ledbetter confirms a school board member attended the parent-teacher conference, but would name name the board member.
“A board member being in a parent-teacher conference can tip the balance, or at least from the appearance, tip the balance of fairness,” he said. “It is not a practice that we can allow.”
Ledbetter says the parent brought his concern to the school board last month. School officials met with the teacher. Ledbetter says they handled the situation.
“We’ve had meetings to make sure there is an understanding that this is not appropriate,” Ledbetter said.
The civil rights group wants the school district to make sure an incident like this doesn’t happen again.
“You try to be appropriate to the situation. It’s one of those that you don’t want repeated,” Ledbetter said.
The superintendent believes it goes back to a basic lesson: don’t talk politics or religion.
“We’re always trying to learn from our mistakes,” he said. “I think that is an important piece to teach our students too. We’re not perfect, but we’re always going to address our issues and learn and move forward and grow.”
Ledbetter says he sent a letter to the parent on Thursday to let him know what action he took with the teacher. He is also considering requiring more sensitivity and diversity training for teachers, faculty, and staff.
The teacher at the center of this incident, Nancy Perry, tells 41NBC she was advised not to speak with the media. She did tell 41NBC what has been reported is "untrue" and she calls this an "unfortunate issue." Ledbetter says Perry is still working at Dublin Middle School.
41NBC reached out to the Dublin Laurens NAACP for comment. The president said she couldn’t speak on the situation except what was written in the letter.