GA SUPREME COURT
DENIES APPEAL FROM TIFT TEACHER
BUT JUSTICES SAY SCHOOL SYSTEM MAY HAVE
VIOLATED KELLY TUCKER'S FREE SPEECH
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday unanimously declined to review a state Court of Appeals decision dismissing former Tift County school teacher Kelly Tucker's civil suit against school officials
But in a
Tift County School System
First Amendment rights
when she was
suspended five days
Black Lives Matter
movement on a
personal Facebook post
in early D
"This is a case about just
First Amendment bends
they communicate in their
Nels Peterson, who was joined in the dissent
by Chief Justice P. Harris Hines and Justice Keith Blackwell
. "I am
imposed here," Peterson wrote.
"I write separately to express my grave concerns that the school officials may well have violated Tucker's First Amendment rights," the justice said.
The high court declined to hear Tucker's appeal because it agreed that
school officials are entitled to "qualified immunity" and cannot be sued
"Naturally, we are disappointed," Tucker's attorney, Craig A. Webster of Tifton, told the Tifton Grapevine on Tuesday. But he noted that the "justices felt like the Tift County School Board had indeed violated Kelly's First Amendment rights."
Tift County School System, in a
written statement to the
Tifton Grapevine, said
with the Georgia Supreme Court's
Mrs. Tucker's application for
Georgia Court of Appeals decision
and former Board Chairperson
"Mrs. Tucker sued Mr. Atwater and Mrs. Rutland for money damages and other relief after she was suspended for five days for posting racially charged comments on a public Facebook forum. Because of her post, parents and citizens contacted the school system with concerns that Mrs. Tucker may not treat students fairly," the school system said.
"The Court of Appeals ruled in Mr. Atwater and Mrs. Rutland's favor, finding Mrs. Tucker's claims were barred by official immunity, and the Supreme Court agreed. Both courts found that Mr. Atwater and Mrs. Rutland did not violate any clearly established law. The Court of Appeals also noted the disruption the post caused in the school operations. Hopefully, this decision will bring this matter to a close," the school system said.
But Tucker's attorney
said they are considering
U.S. Supreme Court
in the case and have
days to make the decision. When contacted,
would only say, "I am
very much considering
taking it to the
United States Supreme Court
At the time Tucker was suspended in February 2015, she was a teacher at Eighth Street Middle School and had been employed with the Tift County School System for 25 years. She has since left and now teaches at Tiftarea Academy.
"She has tried to move on with her life and is very happy at Tiftarea," Webster said.
Dec. 6, 2014, Tucker commented on a
Facebook post about a
Black Lives Matter demonstration in
Ferguson, Mo., writing
"it's turned into a race matter," criticizing "thugs" who had beaten innocent people and suggesting the demonstrators "take the hood off your head and pull up your dang pants...."
CHARLES SPENCER SCHOOL EX-PRINCIPAL CHARGED
Tammy Dill Corbin, 49, former principal of Charles Spencer Elementary School, was charged today (Tuesday) with using a school-issued
card "to purchase personal items and pay personal
while serving as principal, according to the
Georgia Bureau of
Corbin was arrested for theft by taking (felony) and booked into the Tift County Jail, the GBI said.
Tifton Police on Feb. 28 requested that the GBI "investigate misappropriation of funds" at the elementary school, according to a GBI press release.
audit conducted by the
Tift County School Board found
suspicious purchases made on a
credit card assigned to the elementary school," the GBI said.
investigation uncovered that
Corbin charged more than
$1,500 for personal items between
July 2017 and
January 2018, the GBI said.
"Allegations of the
mishandling of funds at
Charles Spencer Elementary School were brought to the attention of the
school system earlier this year.
School officials immediately began an investigation," the
Tift County School System said in a written statement
Taxpayers trust us to responsibly handle all money, and we take that responsibility very seriously. We had already begun termination proceedings when Tammy Corbin resigned in March.
School officials have
throughout this investigation and will continue to
until it is fully
school system said.
CANNING PLANT NOW OPEN
Tift County Food Processing Center, or "Canning Plant," is now open for anyone who wishes to process food for personal use.
Located In the back of the Agriscience Building behind Tift County High School, the plant is open
Mondays through Thursdays,
1 p.m., through
It is open by appointment during other times of the year.
Agricultural education teachers with the Tift County School System are responsible for operating the canning plant, whose purpose is to provide instructional services in preparation, processing and preservation of food products for home use.
The only cost in fully canning produce is for metal quart cans and 15 cents per glass jar (glass jars are not provided by the facility). Can costs are subject to fluctuations.
Blanching for freezing costs $1 per blanching tray (more than 50 ears of corn or two bushels of peas per tray).
Foods that can be processed include okra, squash, cabbage, asparagus, peaches, carrots, corn, soup, pears, spaghetti sauce, boiled peanuts, berries, beans, tomatoes, apples, greens, potatoes, peas and dry products such as flour and sugar.
Anyone who wishes to process food for home use may use the facility. Services available include wet-pack canning, dry-pack canning, blanching, peeling, cooking, corn creaming and pea shelling.
food processing center is provided through the cooperative efforts of the
Tift County Board of Education,
Tift County Agriculture Education Department and the
Georgia State Department of Education.
For information, call 229-387-2475 or 229-387-2400.
TWO TCHS STUDENTS REPRESENTING GEORGIA
AT FBLA NATIONAL CONFERENCE
Two Tift County High freshmen have qualified to compete in the Future Business Leaders of America's (FBLA) National Leadership Conference later this month in Baltimore.
Liam Young and William Goodman are the first FBLA students from Tift County to compete at nationals. They will participate in the
Parliamentary Procedures competition.
were part of a
team that won
FBLA Region 1
, hosted at
Southern Regional Technical College
. The team then
went on to compete in a combination event of objective testing and live performance.
The objective testing happened several weeks before the live performance, which was part of the
FBLA state conference in
Atlanta. The Tift County
four-person team, which also included
Chrishawn Chappelle and Aubrey Gay, won
second place in
state competition for their
"They received great
feedback from the
judges. They felt this group really had a grasp of how the event worked," says
Melissa Busbin, Tift Counthy High business teacher and FBLA adviser.
The objective scores were then used to create what is known as a super team. Both Young and Goodman scored high enough to be invited to compete at nationals as part of a super team.
"When they called the team from
Tift County as the
first-place region winner, I thought it was a mistake, but it wasn't,"
Busbin says. "After winning region, we started
meeting after school every week to
study and have
practice role-play sessions."
Busbin says only
seven teams are allowed to compete from the
It was pretty
suspenseful waiting to find out if they placed at state. Their event was the last one called during the
state awards ceremony. I was in complete
disbelief they placed
second in the
state and then even more
William qualified for nationals,"
"I feel really
blessed to be a
small part of their
journey. I would like to help them be
recognized for their
eight other students, will represent
Baltimore June 29."
TIFTON-TIFT COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
192 South Virginia Ave., Tifton
RAINS HINDERING PEANUT CROP
rainfall in Georgia
growth of the state's
peanut crop and created ideal
vegetable fields, leaving farmers scrambling to decide what to do next.
peanut and cotton acreage remains in
flux because of the inclement weather. According to the
Georgia Crop Progress and Condition Report, issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service,
73 percent of this year's
peanut crop has been
planted. Some of the crop will likely need to be
replanted because of
saturated field conditions.
University of Georgia Cooperative Extension peanut agronomist
Scott Monfort said the steady
rainfall stalled the growth of
peanut plants across Georgia. Fields are
waterlogged from the
abnormal amount of
rainfall, and the plants are not pulling any essential nutrients from the soil.
"I've been in quite a few fields where everything looks like it's
several weeks behind. Peanuts that were planted a month ago look like they were planted a week ago. They're just
not growing," Monfort said.
UGA Extension crop experts believe the upward swing of
cotton prices that started at the beginning of this year may entice
row crop farmers to switch some
peanut acreage to
cotton when farmers can get back into their fields and planting resumes.
Cotton cash prices are currently
88 cents per pound, the highest reported average since
2014, according to UGA Extension cotton economist
Yangxuan Liu. While this is encouraging news for cotton producers, it presents a
peanut growers, like
Bill Brim, who haven't planted their entire crop.
"We've got to make a
decision on whether we're going to continue to try to hold out and plant more
peanuts or plant
cotton. (Cotton) is close to breaking
90 cents, so it's looking better and better to plant cotton than it is (to plant) peanuts," said
Brim, owner and CEO of
Lewis Taylor Farms in
Tifton. The company runs
Quality Produce, a plasticulture and ground vegetable production operation that covers more than
65 percent of Georgia's
cotton acreage has been
planted, according to the same Georgia crop progress report. UGA Extension cotton agronomist
Jared Whitaker said that it's
risky for Georgia farmers to
plant cotton in
June, but they do it every year.
"It's a good
opportunity. We have cotton close to 90 cents to rely on. It's good, assuming we can get the crop in if it ever stops
raining," Whitaker said.
Brim is already seeing disease and bacteria on some of his plants.
rain has "
devastated us; we just need for it to get out of here. If it doesn't, we're going to
whole crop," Brim said.
2 ABAC FACULTY MEMBERS RECEIVE
TEACHING AWARD OF MERIT
Audrey Luke-Morgan, lecturer of agribusiness, and Kip Hall, assistant professor of forestry, were selected as recipients of the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) Teaching Award of Merit for the 2017-18 academic year at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.
"Being awarded the NACTA Teaching Award of Merit once is quite an honor, but to be therecipient for a second time is truly humbling," Hall said. "I am surrounded by such extraordinary professors in ag and natural resources."
Dr. Mark Kistler, dean of the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and department heads selected the two faculty members based on their performance during the school year.
"I am humbled and honored to receive the NACTA Teaching Award of Merit," Luke-Morgan said. "I appreciate the confidence and support of fellow faculty and administration to nominate and select me for this honor."
NACTA is a professional society focusing on teaching and learning in agriculture and related disciplines at the postsecondary level. It provides ag professors a forum for discussion, seeks improvement of agricultural-related teaching and rewards instructional excellence.
SUMMERTIME AND THE LIVIN' IS ... FOOTBALL!
"Most people don't realize how much has to happen before the season actually starts. Coaches have been
planning and organizing for months; coaches' wives are preparing themselves for the absence of their spouses; players have been conditioning themselves at home; parents have been making arrangements for their boys to make it to practice and back home, and tweaking grocery lists to make sure enough protein is being consumed by their bottomless, teenaged pits; vacations have been juggled; fields and facilities have been tended; equipment prepped; and now ... it's time.
"We're more than a team; we're a family. And we're ready."
ifton First Church of the Nazarene
3024 N. Tift Ave., Tifton
Invites all to join us for a
Father's Day Rally
June 17 at
Come hear how God has transformed men's lives through music & testimonies!
We will have dinner on the grounds following the service.
LITERACY VOLUNTEERS FUNDRAISER
OFFERS BOSTON BUTTS FOR THE FOURTH
Literacy Volunteers of Tifton-Tift County is pre-selling
smoked Boston Butts this month for the
Fourth of July holiday for a donation of
Those wanting a
6- to 8-pound
portion of smoked pork should request a
or talking to a
The pre-cooked, frozen butts may be picked up in the parking lot of First Presbyterian Church, 217 Park Ave. N., from 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, June 30, to be thawed for the Fourth of July.
The fundraiser benefits adults in our community who are learning to read and preparing to take their GEDs, as well as those who are learning to speak, read and write English as a second language.
"Support from friends and local businesses keep us going," said Bonnie Sayles, executive director of Literacy Volunteers. "Donations enable us to recruit and train tutors, purchase materials and pay fees for students to take their GEDs when they are ready."
Literacy Volunteers board members are: Victor Pires, president; Victoria Horst, vice president; Klinton Guess, treasurer; Jarrod Roberts, secretary; Melissa Burtle, adult education director for Southern Regional Technical College; Katrina Hall; Dr. John Hamm; Hannah Holmes Lovelace; Karen Hendrix; Shelia Pullins; and Kenneth Smith.
Also, Literacy Volunteers is holding a tutor workshop at 5-7 p.m. Thursday, June 7, at Southern Regional Technical College, Tifton Campus, Building A board room. Current tutors and those interested in tutoring may attend. Call 229-391-2527 to register and for information.
TIFTON-TIFT COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
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