Fairfield-Suisun Unified official official resigns publish after flap surrounding Fb photographs, feedback – Occasions-Herald

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Fairfield-Suisun Unified official official resigns post after flap surrounding Facebook photos, comments – Times-Herald

A prominent Fairfield-Suisun Unified official has resigned from his job after finding himself in hot water over a Facebook photo posted seven years ago showing him dressed in a Confederate uniform and making subsequent comments to friends that apparently have been deemed racially insensitive.

Tim Goree, in a Sept. 29 email addressed to the school district’s administrative council — some 150 people, among them central office staff, school principals, mental health clinicians — wrote that he would “move on to explore other opportunities.”

Tim Goree

At the same time in the three-paragraph note, Goree, a 10-year district employee and former executive director of administrative services and community engagement praised the district’s staff and other employees, adding, “I pray that you will continue to be the example that lifts the level of other districts locally, statewide, and nationally.”

Superintendent Kris Corey, who leads Solano County’s largest school district, with 22,000 students across some 30 campuses, declined to comment about Goree’s resignation, citing “personnel matters,” saying only that it was accepted on Oct. 8. She also had previously declined to comment on the matter when it surfaced after a school board meeting last month.

After the issue became public, Goree told The Reporter at the time that he was unsure what, if any, administrative discipline, including firing, he would face as a result of the social media posts.

He said the photo had been taken down from his Facebook account, but it was, by all accounts, widely circulated among some in the Fairfield community and elsewhere.

According to Goree, the issue of the photo — a black-and-white image, a memento which included his family members and taken in 2013 in the town of Gettysburg, Pa., where they vacationed to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War’s turning-point battle — was aired by a member of the public during the district’s Sept. 10 governing board meeting.

A member of the NAACP brought the social media postings to the trustees’ attention and said “some major things about the situation,” noted Goree, adding, “That’s a major part of this.”

The controversy came as America faces turmoil and confronts racial reckoning in the wake of numerous deaths of several unarmed black men at the hands of police, including George Floyd and Jacob Blake, with the Black Lives Matter movement raising awareness about racial inequalities in policing, the removal of Confederate statues in American cities, the ongoing rise of violent white supremacist groups, the retelling of Black American history told in the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project, among other things, prompting Americans to re-examine the broad legacies of slavery, race, and the Civil War that are still unsettled in the many parts of the nation.

In response to online comments surrounding the photo and his subsequent comments, Goree later posted a “Dear Staff” online apology to district employees but also encouraged anyone “who has questions about this situation to contact me directly.”

As part of the apology, he recounted the trip to Gettysburg and indicated that he had “answered questions (online) that friends had about the experience and said some things in ways that are hurtful to people who have been marginalized and discriminated against. While I didn’t intend to harm others, I recognize that is the result of my actions, and for that, I’m very sorry.”

“I want everyone to know that I support racial equity 100%,” Goree added. “I’m distraught over the knowledge that some will look at these posts from seven years ago and believe that I don’t support racial equity.”

No surprise, given the topsy-turvy and sometimes vindictive nature of social media, another photo linked to Goree’s Civil War uniform image depicts a Confederate battle flag with the word “Trump” written on it. Goree said that the photo was “photoshopped” on Twitter and was posted by an unknown person with the memento photo.

“That photo was never posted by me, it was added by the anonymous person who started sharing it in the first place,” he explained in his apology letter.

Goree told The Reporter that his trip to Gettysburg was a vacation and that the photo was taken in a studio in the southern Pennsylvania town, where the store manager gave him a choice to wear a Confederate or Union uniform, depending on his family’s history in the United States. Goree’s family hails from Texas, one of the Confederate states.

“That’s how we chose,” he explained, adding that his wife and three daughters also posed for the photo.

Goree conceded that people seeing the original Facebook photo and the comments in Facebook conversations “without context, can be disturbing to people.”

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