Johnston Community College President Dr. David Johnson has completed an investigation into a department chair who mocked a student on social media for wearing a Donald Trump shirt to her classroom. The instructor, Dr. Tammy Bird, was disciplined by Dr. Johnson but will still remain employed at the college.
On September 27, 2019, JoCoReport reported that Dr. Bird, the Department Chair of Educational Technologies & Computer Sciences at JCC, posted on her social media account that she felt threatened by a student who wore a Donald Trump shirt to her classroom. The face of the student was partially covered by the expression “OMG!”. The post also included the faces of three others students whose identity was not hidden.
Afterwards, some staff members at JCC and parents of students who attend the college alerted JoCoReport about the post. Some expressed concern Dr. Bird may have violated the federal Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA) which prevents the release of school records and photographs of students without their express written consent.
“It’s disturbing to see someone in a position of authority, such as this department chair at Johnston Community College, disparage a student in such a callous manner,” said A.P. Dillon, a conservative education blogger and Triangle area reporter.
“It’s one thing to disagree with someone’s political views, but it is quite another to post altered photos of them mocking them on social media, which only encourages others to join in. This is reprehensible behavior that is unbecoming of an educator and faculty member,” Dillon said.
In a statement released Wednesday to JoCoReport, Dr. Johnson said, “Upon becoming aware of certain online posts by Dr. Tammy Bird involving a student at the College, the College conducted an internal investigation of the incident. The instructor was disciplined for her actions.” In a follow up email, college officials confirmed Dr. Bird is still employed.
Bird was hired in May 2018. As of July 1, 2019 she was making an annual salary of $76,692. State law prohibits officials from releasing what type of disciplinary action was taken against Dr. Bird.
Editor’s Note: The screenshot has been altered by JoCoReport to fully obscure the faces of all the students in the social media post reportedly made by Tammy Bird. Other than blurring their facial features, the screenshot has no additional edits.