A social media campaign has started and a peaceful march was organized to keep a popular Palmetto High School teacher in the classroom.
FOX Carolina has received numerous calls and messages from people who want to show support for this teacher, who has been identified as Lisa Houston.
We’re told the concern stems from a video that was posted on social media during class and some say was taken out of context.
Jane Harrison, Superintendent for Anderson School District One, said the school administration immediately conducted an inquiry into what occurred after learning of the video and said Houston decided on her own accord to retire.
Below is Harrison's statement on behalf of the school district:"The individual has already separated as an Anderson One teacher. Although the district is unable to comment in detail about the matter, the administration took seriously what occurred, and the teacher, who has had an exemplary record of teaching performance, decided of her own accord that she would retire in the best interest of her school."The video in question shows a woman standing on a student's desk and placing her hands and feet on the student in an animated attempt to wake the drowsy student, much to the delight of other students in the room.
Julian Johnson, the father of the student in the video, said neither he nor his son asked for disciplinary action against the teacher.
“My son has nothing to do with this. He was tired and went to sleep," Johnson said. "I didn’t call for her to be fired. I wish it would go away and that it never happened.”
Johnson said his son didn't know the teacher had retired until she didn't show up for class and Johnson didn't know anything about the incident until the school called him and asked him to come to the campus and speak with officials.
Early Thursday morning, a FOX Carolina photojournalist saw flowers and candles that were left outside of the high school in Williamston.
According to her biography, which has been removed from the Anderson District One website, Houston taught Algebra II, helped coordinate prom and assisted with other school activities.
"My goal is to be the best teacher I possibly can while at the same time showing each student the love and support they need to be successful in my classroom," the bio read.
An attorney for Houston, Ryan Beasley, said he felt like news outlets who released the video without audio and the school "sensationalized this whole things where it could have been defused very easily."
Beasley said Houston, in her 27 years of teaching, has had a perfect record and is loved by the community. She was approaching retirement.
“She’s heartbroken, how this has turned out," Beasley said. "I mean, this has ruined her reputation. She’ll probably never get a job within the school district or any school district again.”
A march to support Houston began at the school when classes were over at 3 p.m. and ended at the Anderson District One office. Current and former students participated, carrying signs with messages in support of Houston. They were not let into the district office when they stood outside the door.
A peaceful protest was held outside the office until around 4:30 p.m. when the demonstrators made their way to the track and football field at the school for a prayer and walk session.
Countless people have called and emailed our newsroom and messaged us on social media asking for coverage reflecting the positive impact the teacher had had on students.
Here is what some had to say:"Mrs.Houston is very loved and has impacted all of our lives. Without her Palmetto isn’t Palmetto! She’s one of the best teachers we have here and she’s supper bubbly and playful with her teaching methods. The way Mrs.Houston has taught has never been an issue before. She helps adapt to every students learning abilities and makes learning fun and quirky! She has the best intentions for every student and no student she’s had will have anything negative to say about her." - Britney King.Supporters are also posting on social media using the hashtag #WeStandForHouston and #WithoutHoustonWeHaveAProblem
“The only thing I can say is Lisa Houston is one of the top teachers in that district and in the state and her record proves it," Beasley said. "And it’s a sad situation that the people she’s worked her whole life to help and support have, in my opinion, turned their back on her."
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