School bans Georgia gov candidate from rallying for teacher’s firing on campus

Senator Mike Crane (left), R-Newnan, and Senator Michael Williams, R-Cumming, confer. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

Republican Michael Williams traded barbs with the Cherokee County school district on Monday over his plans to rally this week at a high school to urge the firing of a teacher who tried to require students in her class to turn their pro-Donald Trump T-shirts inside out.

Cherokee spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby told Williams that River Ridge High School is off-limits for his Wednesday protest, and warned that it would “significantly disrupt teaching and learning and may endanger the safety of more than 3,200 students and staff.”

“While we strongly support the Constitutional right to air grievances through peaceful protest,” the spokeswoman wrote, “we support the courts’ interpretation that this right is limited in regard to school campuses.” (You can find the text of the entire note here.)

Williams’ campaign said it planned to go forward with the protest, and said that it took the district’s warning as a threat.

“The arrogance of such statements is insulting to myself and our peaceful protesters,” Williams said in a statement. “We will not be intimidated by your deceitful statement meant to prevent our lawful right to assemble. The protest will continue as planned.”

Williams, a state senator, is one of the lesser-known Republican candidates for governor and his bid for office has focused on attention-grabbing press conferences and events that defy the usual norms of campaigning.

His rally targets Lyn Orletsky, who is on paid administrative leave following an incident in class where a student recorded her saying T-shirts with “Make America Great Again” were the equivalent of wearing a swastika.

She said in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that her motivation was not political and that her remarks came shortly after white supremacists adopted the Trump slogan as a rallying cry at the violent rally in Charlottesville, Va.

Williams has faced conservative criticism since calling for the firing of Orletsky, whom he called a “liberal activist teacher.” Among them is Erick Erickson, the pundit who wrote that Williams’ rally was “profoundly morally wrong” and could expose the district to a lawsuit.

(Erickson works for WSB, which shares a corporate overlord with the AJC.)

“The school system already defended the First Amendment. They disciplined the teacher. They told the kids they could wear those shirts,” Erickson wrote at The Resurgent. “This isn’t about the First Amendment, but about extortionist behavior by someone running for office trying to get attention.”

Reader Comments 0

13 comments
dajoliluf
dajoliluf

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exatt
exatt

out comes the liberals

aburgess
aburgess

Show up at the political stunt to protest the charlatan. Embarrass the conservative!

Patty1031
Patty1031

Incidents such as this one have prompted many schools to adopt dress codes that include prohibitions against wearing shirts with ANY kind of message.  My suggestion for kids, parents, and teachers: when you come to school, leave your baggage outside.

edugator2
edugator2

The man made me agree with Erick Erickson.  Never thought that would be possible.  Stop this witch hunt against an excellent teacher who made a judgement error of no serious consequence.  Shame, Michael Williams, shame!

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

I hope he resigned his state senate seat so we can send him home!

BuckheadBoy
BuckheadBoy

I am just glad that I grew-up at a time when our emphasis was on dressing well, not slovenly; and when the antics of a Williams would have had him running from orderlies at an asylum, not for elective office. Oh for the days of girls in Papagallos shoes and Carl "Cufflinks" Sanders.

yaluvi
yaluvi

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Michael Kent
Michael Kent

Hey Michael,

You can stop by the school and have your weird little pageant if you promise to get some tutoring on reflexive pronouns.

Deal?

Great again?

jezel-dog / Coach - me
jezel-dog / Coach - me

Mike Williams is the same guy who showed up in our neighborhood  ( Piedmont Park ) with 12 white militia people....throwing up white supremacist gang signs....carrying assault weapons.


The AJC covered the event at the time and published a picture of the group.


Williams should be considered armed and dangerous. Stay on point with this one.

ptcrunner
ptcrunner

Wow, I'm somewhat agreeing with Erickson on this issue - even though he spews out garbage faster than a dysfunctional water fountain. Also, what is with that guy's laugh? That one is creepy. 


State Sen. Williams is obviously an opportunist, looking to cash in on the outrage of the day. What this rather unqualified candidate for governor needs to realize is that the teacher does not deserve to lose her career over this incident. There's no doubt that the students engaged in mischief just to rile her up to take action. When it occurred, the spoiled brat students took out their daddies' overpriced mobile phones - manufactured in China - to record the incident to make it viral. They pushed the right buttons to create this nonsense. 


Let's hope that the teacher can go back to work, ride out her career and retire in a more sensible polity that doesn't contain people like Erick Erickson or state Sen. Williams. 

chill30313
chill30313

Good. And shame on him for even doing this.