A Fort Worth school board member did not mince words when parents tried to get the board to ease its requirement that teachers at the predominantly white Tarrant County school district don’t wear masks while entering schools.
“We are trying to be more inclusive,” Christine Morris said at a school board meeting on Sept. 20. “And all that needs to go is the mask.”
Morris followed up with a bizarre tweet directed at Tarrant County school parents who filed a lawsuit in opposition to the requirement.
Hey frat boys & HOMOPHOBES in Tarrant County, we are trying to be more inclusive. We are also trying to get rid of the damn mask. — Christine Morris (@Profitsby_Numbers) September 20, 2016
She followed that tweet with one about “the face that she so desperately wishes she were,” alluding to the lawsuit.
You don’t come for parents or taxpayer money unless you plan on destroying it. 🖤👋 https://t.co/8PMdVUpYWH — Christine Morris (@Profitsby_Numbers) September 20, 2016
The suit accuses the school board of requiring employees to wear masks in racially insensitive incidents, by requiring some teachers to come in behind locks or blinds in order to protect the privacy of elementary school children.
Before you can worry about the mask, we also need to decide what color face we all are. — Christine Morris (@Profitsby_Numbers) September 20, 2016
The suit challenges a clause in the school board’s handbook that says staff members in elementary schools and other schools in the district are “expected to follow the policies and procedures of the district in their daily work and school assignments.”
Parents argue that the policy violates their rights to free speech and due process.
“Although the school district has vigorously defended the safety-inspection clause, a parent’s right to be free from excessively intrusive inspection is indisputable,” the parents’ petition to the school board states.
The suit follows a series of racially tinged complaints at Tarrant County schools, from loud parties and body paint to players wearing ethnic costumes at games. Parents of Hispanic students complained that their children were harassed when they were unable to enter the room.
When Morris took issue with the petition at the Sept. 20 meeting, she said that it is the responsibility of parents to monitor their children at school, not necessarily teachers.
“The teachers are not coming in, but parents are coming in with all the nonsense,” she said. “What are we supposed to do? Shut down those schools? Shut down the school district?”
Although Morris said that she doesn’t use slurs, she weighed in on the Oct. 12 meeting with an essay arguing that, in a free society, minorities should suffer “unhappiness and discontent” if they don’t become Americans.
“All of you are entitled to your opinions, but if your opinions clash with mine, so be it,” she wrote. “Just remember to vote. You may not want to hear this, but it takes two.”
Morris said in a Thursday phone interview that she wasn’t apologizing for her comments in the earlier meeting.
“Not at all,” she said. “No one is forcing me to express myself the way I do. I have a very bright mouth. It’s the way I was born. I have my own opinion.”
She referred to herself as an academic and a daughter of conservative Christians.
“My rant was a lecture on free speech,” she said. “I had to jump right to a place where the most distortion was occurring.”
She did not reference the retweets of some of her comments about the racial dustup, and said she doesn’t listen to her Twitter feed.
“I’m like a lot of people,” she said. “I check everything before I write. I have to do a lot of checking.”