Former Richland High School teacher Mary Porter has released a statement about her dismissal and doesn't agree with everything that was in a statement released earlier by the Rankin County School District.
(Here's a letter the school received by the school about the movie being shown: READ IT HERE)
Porter denies that resigned during the course of an investigation into to her showing an inappropriate movie. Porter says after the investigation was complete, she was given the option of resigning or being fired. She chose resignation because she was told she would get an excellent recommendation if she chose to teach somewhere else.
Porter also says she did not show the movie repeatedly, as the district statement said. She says she only showed it twice.
Her full statement says:
I categorically deny the RCSD statement that says I resigned during the course of an investigation into my showing of an inappropriate movie. When I was placed on administrative leave on Thursday, January 30, I asked the principal when the investigation would be completed. Mr. Sutton said he hoped by Friday afternoon, January 31. Friday morning he called me to come in between 12:30-1. In the 12:30 meeting, he said after viewing the video I had two options: dismissal or resignation. I chose resignation because he said he would give me an excellent recommendation if I chose to teach somewhere else.
I also showed the movie once in an A day class and once in a B day class, not "repeatedly," as the RCSD statement says.
The District said in a statement Mary Porter was put on administrative leave and resigned, last week.
The Rankin County School district said their investigation "revealed that the school district is required to report to the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) as a possible violation of the Mississippi Educator Code of Ethics."
The school district's statement went on to say:
RCSD has an obligation and our parents expect us to make sure our students are not exposed to inappropriate materials. During the course of the investigation the teacher resigned.
Mary Porter was a English teacher for 9th and 10th graders at the school. Her school bio starts with this:
I'm a USM broadcast journalism major with a minor in English. After working in broadcasting for a number of years, I decided I wanted to make a difference in the lives of young people, so I received my certification to teach English and am now a national board certified teacher. (Read more here)
Recently, Mrs. Porter showed an R rated movie (Dolan's Cadillac) to a class as part of one of her lessons.
Students walked out to protest Porters firing Tuesday. Freshman Hazan Retana says, "She didn't deserve to get fired for showing a movie. The teachers do worse things than showing movies like they let children cuss and they cuss along with the children."
A parent Frances Sellers says, "I personally don't see where it hurt these kids. They watch much worse at the theaters and everywhere else. Yes they have regulations on what they can and can't do but I just don't see where she's done anything wrong.
Students say they plan to take their protest to the next school board meeting.
On our Facebook page, someone shared her apparent note to students. The message, which appears to be written on a white board, says:
I want you to know you are never to old to make a mistake, and I made a big one by playing a movie with my 10th graders. I will forever be sorry for my error in judgment. I want you to know I love each of you and wish you only the best.
Now students are rallying around a teacher they say truly made a difference.
Our Facebook friend Michael A. Dendy wrote this on our FB page:
Richland High School just made the biggest mistake of their life by firing/letting go/whatever they did to Mary Burnet Porter.
Every Student that passed through her classroom was changed for the better. She kept so many kids in school and kept them engaged in what she was teaching. I hope Richland High School is ready for the backlashes they are about to receive from every student and parent that Mary Porter touched in some way..."
Several students have contacted us on Twitter, sending us pictures of an apparent walk out for the teacher they held Tuesday morning. They say another one is planned for early afternoon.
They are using the hashtag #bringmsporterback to show support for the teacher.
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