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Georgia Department of Education Fired Official Over Bigoted Remarks

The far-right superintendent was in charge of the curriculum at online schools. But many didn't like what his own online presence was teaching kids.

A far-right official in Georgia's Department of Education blamed the failures in the American education system not on funding or standardized tests, but on the presence of people of color and those identifying as gay in public schools. Less than a day after his words were brought to light, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that he lost his job.

The brother of Republican Senator Jason Spencer, Jeremy Spencer served as the Associate Superintendent of Virtual Instruction. He was in charge of Georgia's online schools, but his own digital footprint caused concern. While holding the position, he posted and shared messages discriminating against race, religion, nationality, and sexuality amongst his endorsements for Republicans Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.

One post raising flags says, "If I read one more thing the Finland educational system....not everybody in the US public schools are WHITE!" Spencer's statuses and page description clearly say who he is, and he occasionally addresses his fellow colleagues, according to the AJC. In addition, his judgment on controlling comments came into question, as those following his page leave similarly offensive remarks without the repercussions of deletion. One follower responded to an Anti-Muslim and Anti-Obama post by Spencer with a picture of a lynching and "Only one way to solve the problem: Impeach and ........"

Sources directed the AJC's Get Schooled blogger, Maureen Downey, to Spencer's social media and her exposé gained the attention of readers like advocacy group Better Georgia, school administration, and government officials. All pushed State School Superintendent Richard Woods to terminate Spencer from his position. "[Woods] needs to fire Spencer today," a Democratic senator from Georgia, Vincent Fort, told Downey, "Let’s get this chapter over quickly because it is hurtful, hurtful, hurtful. If this is extended for days or weeks or months, we are going to do great injury to this state."

Since the posts were revealed to the Department of Education, Spencer's page no longer exists. And thanks to advocacy, neither does his employment. A post on the Better Georgia website reads, "Because of your action, Superintendent Richard Woods backed off of his original statement that it would take two weeks to investigate. Instead, he did the right thing by taking swift action and letting Georgians know that hate speech will not be tolerated." Woods announced Spencer's departure in a statement. Not even 24 hours had passed since Downey's blog post.

Technically, the state superintendent never fired Spencer. Though Woods agreed with the outrage over the posts, department policies forbade him from directly firing Spencer in such a short amount of time, a spokesperson told the AJC. Instead, Spencer resigned Tuesday morning (Jan. 26) with recommendation from Woods who said, "My job, and the job of all employees at the Department of Education, is to look out for the educational well-being of all of Georgia’s 1.7 million students, and more than 100,000 teachers and educators.”

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Disturbing Footage From Aftermath Of Ahmaud Arbery’s Murder Released

Travis McMichael , the man who shot and killed Ahmaud Arbery can be seen drenched in blood as he speaks with authorities in new body camera video obtained by the Glynn County police.

The footage, first reported by the Atlanta-Journal Constitution on Monday (Dec. 14), shows Travis McMichael recounting the deadly incident with authorities. His hands and forearms are covered in Arbery’s blood.

One police officer at the scene attempts to calm Travis McMichael before gently asking him if there’s anyone that he wants them to call on his behalf. She goes on to explain that he has to go to the police station as a formality, and asks if he sustained any injuries.

Travis McMichael paces around with his hands in his pockets, at times wiping blood of his arms and face, while blaming Arbery for his own murder. Arbery’s body lay on the ground and he was still breathing at one point in the video, according to USA Today.

While authorities investigate the shooting, Travis McMichael appears agitated and tells an officer, “I want it [the investigation] done right, because this doesn’t look good. I mean, I just shot a man. Last thing I’ve ever wanted to do in my life.”

Arbery, 25, was out for a jog before being chased in a pick-up truck, cornered and gunned down by Travis McMichael with his father, Greg McMichael, a retired investigator for the Brunswick Judicial Circuit D.A.’s office, by his side. Despite having no proof, father and son claim that they thought Arbery had been burglarizing the neighborhood.

Greg McMichael reportedly backed up his son’s account to police stating that his son “had no choice” but to kill Arbery. At least one  officer at the crime scene was familiar with Greg McMichael from his years in law enforcement and recent retirement.

In an additional recording, Greg McMichael says that he would have “shot him myself” and continues accusing Arbery of being the aggressor. “The guy turns and comes at him [Travis], and they start wrestling and Travis shoots him right in the damn chest,” he tells police. “The guy was trying to take the shotgun away from him [Travis].”

A third man, neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan filmed the incident on his cell phone and was later arrested for murder along with the McMichaels. Bryan has since questioned if they should have been following Arbery in the first place.

All three men remain jailed as they await trial on murder charges.

Click here to watch the body cam footage, but please be warned that the video is explicit.

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Bowie State And More HBCUs Receive Record-Breaking Donations From Billionaire

MacKenzie Scott is back at it! The billionaire venture philanthropist, novelist, and ex-wife of Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, has donated tens of millions of dollars to several HBCUs in the last few days.

The week's isn't over yet, but so far, Scott has donated well over $100 million to historically Black colleges including Tougaloo College, which received $6 million on Wednesday (Dec. 16).

A day earlier, Scott gave a record $40 million each to Morgan State and Norfolk University, $25 million to Alcorn State University and Bowie State, $20 million to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore , and $15 million to Elizabeth City University.

Morgan State's $40 million gift is the largest single-party donation in the HBCU’s history, and the second-largest donation to a public Maryland university. 

“This monumental gift will change lives and shape futures,” Morgan State President David Wilson said in a statement. “I thank Ms. Scott for her due diligence and acknowledgement of the substantive value Morgan offers to so many throughout this nation and around the world, and entrusting that we will ensure the enduring impact of her generosity is truly transformational for many years to come.”

A majority of the donated funds will go to Morgan State’s newly established endowment fund. The remainder of the money will be used to continue the university’s efforts “essential to student success,” as well as advancing research and enhancing investments in other “mission-focused priorities and initiatives.”

Scott also donated millions to Howard University, Clark Atlanta and Delaware State University.

Her latest HBCU donation spree is a small portion of the $4 billion that she has given away over the last four months. The multi-billion dollar charitable windfall has been dispersed to 384 organizations and educational institutions in all 50 states, plus Puerto Rico and Washington D.C.

And she’s still not done.

“Though I’m far from completing my pledge, this year of giving began with exposure to leaders from historically marginalized groups fighting inequities, and ended with exposure to thousands of organizations working to alleviate suffering for those hardest hit by the pandemic,” Scott wrote in a post on Medium.com. “Witnessing the determination, creativity, and compassion of people in a crisis has been inspiring.”

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Father And Son Who Brutally Murdered Ahmaud Arbery Denied Bail

Travis and Gregory McMichael, the father-son duo charged for the brutal murder of Ahmaud Arbery, were denied bail and must remain behind bars, a judge ruled on Friday (Nov. 13). Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, urged the judge to keep Travis, 34, and Gregory, 64, in custody.

“These men are proud of what they've done,” she said according to NBC News. “In their selfish minds, they think they're good guys.”

William “Roddie” Bryan, a neighbor to the McMichales', was denied bail over the summer.

Bryan recorded Arbery’s murder. All three men have been indicted on suspicion of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.

Investigators found racist text messages and social media posts from Travis McMichael,  Cobb County prosecutors noted in court on Thursday. Bryan also told authorities that he heard Travis use the n-word after fatally shooting Arbery.

Arbery, 25, was out for a jog in late February when the men, approached, cornered, and shot him to death. The incident was recorded on Bryan’s cell phone.

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