School & District Management

Florida Commissioner Says ‘We Made Sure’ Teacher Who Hung Black Lives Matter Flag Was Fired

By Emily Bloch, The Florida Times-Union — May 18, 2021 2 min read
Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran speaks during a bill signing ceremony at St. John the Apostle School on May 11, 2021, in Hialeah, Fla.
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A Duval County teacher who hung a Black Lives Matter flag in her classroom says she heard she was fired through a YouTube video.

On Monday, Amy Donofrio’s legal team released a statement criticizing a recent guest speaking engagement from Florida Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran at Hillsdale College, a private conservative school in Michigan. Corcoran used Donofrio as an example while speaking about critical race theory and curriculum oversight and announced that he had her fired.

In March, the school district announced Donofrio would be removed from her classroom while Duval Schools conducted an investigation for “several allegations.” The district declined to say what those allegations are, citing the active investigation. By April, the Southern Poverty Law Center announced it was suing Duval Schools on Donofrio’s behalf.

See Also

Image of directing flow around a cone.
Nuthawut Somsuk/iStock/Getty

“I’m getting sued right now in Duval County, which is in Jacksonville because there was an entire classroom memorialized to Black Lives Matter,” Corcoran said during his presentation. “We made sure she was terminated and now we’re being sued by every one of the liberal left groups who say it’s freedom of speech issue.”

Duval County Public Schools told the Times-Union on Monday morning that Donofrio is still an active employee within the school district.

“The employee is assigned to paid, non-teaching duties,” a spokeswoman said.

Public records show that Donofrio’s teaching certificate is still active and that she has faced no disciplinary actions from the state department of education as of this time.

A spokeswoman for the Southern Poverty Law Center said now that Corcoran’s statement about Donofrio is out in the open, they need answers.

“Ms. Donofrio was devastated to learn from Commissioner Corcoran’s public statements of the decision to terminate her employment even though Duval County Public Schools still refuses to provide Ms. Donofrio with any details of the ‘alleged misconduct’ for which she was told she was being investigated,” a statement from the SPLC said.

“That this decision has been made by those at the highest level of Florida’s Department of Education before the DCPS investigation is even completed shows the depth of the retaliation and deprivation of due process and free speech upon which Ms. Donofrio’s lawsuit against the District is based. According to Corcoran, a classroom that teaches Black Lives Matter or what Corcoran has labeled ‘crazy liberal stuff’ justifies censorship and the firing of teachers.”

The Times-Union has reached out to the Florida Department of Education and Corcoran’s office for comment.

In a separate statement, Donofrio described hearing Corcoran’s latest statement as heartbreaking.

“While I am heartbroken that the retaliation against me continues, I will not stop fighting for my rights so that other teachers do not have to endure the retaliation, harassment, and humiliation that I have as a result of co-creating a safe learning environment with and for Black students,” she said.

Copyright (c) 2021, The Florida Times-Union. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Recruitment & Retention Webinar
Be the Change: Strategies to Make Year-Round Hiring Happen
Learn how to leverage actionable insights to diversify your recruiting efforts and successfully deploy a year-round recruiting plan.
Content provided by Frontline
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Critical Ways Leaders Can Build a Culture of Belonging and Achievement
Explore innovative practices for using technology to build an environment of belonging and achievement for all staff and students.
Content provided by DreamBox Learning
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Professional Development Webinar
Strategies for Improving Student Outcomes with Teacher-Student Relationships
Explore strategies for strengthening teacher-student relationships and hear how districts are putting these methods into practice to support positive student outcomes.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Download A Visual Guide to Nonverbal Communication (Download)
Understanding nonverbal communication can help you improve interactions and get your message across.
1 min read
v42 8SR Nonverbal Communication Share Image
Gina Tomko/Education Week and Getty
School & District Management Ensure Your Staff Gets the Message: 3 Tips for School Leaders
School staff are inundated with information. Here's a few ways to ensure they will actually hear you.
3 min read
Image showing a female and male in business attire connecting speech bubble puzzle pieces.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
School & District Management Keep School Staff Motivated All Year Long: Advice From Principals
Here are some of the things—big and small—that school leaders do and say to keep teachers excited about the job.
13 min read
Teachers and faculty play a game of Kahoot! to get to know one another better during a Welcome Back training at CICS Bucktown on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022 in Chicago, Ill.
Teachers and faculty play a game to get to know one another better during a Welcome Back training at Chicago's CICS Bucktown in August.
Taylor Glascock for Education Week
School & District Management How District Leaders Can Make Social Media Work for Them
Two school district leaders with impressive followings share best practices for using social media.
3 min read
Two diverse educators with laptops sitting on an oversize cellphone with communication symbols and text bubbles on the phone and in the air around them.
Gina Tomko/Education Week and DigitalVision Vectors