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Tennessee High athletics secretary reprimanded by BTCS over Facebook post

Tennessee High athletics secretary reprimanded by BTCS over Facebook post

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BRISTOL, Tenn. --- Tennessee High School's athletics secretary was issued a letter of reprimand on Tuesday for a controversial post she made recently on her personal Facebook account. 

The post by Patty Feathers voiced opposition to wearing goggles as a protective measure against COVID-19 as well as opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement.

"The day you see me walking around all day in goggles is the same day I'll be voting for Joe, wearing a BLM shirt, kneeling for the National Anthem and the AMERICAN flag, carrying around a protest sign to defund the police, and turning in my guns," Feathers said in the post.

The post drew criticism over the weekend after being shared on social media by The Tri-Cities Holler, a left-leaning local news organization, and activist Dani Cook.

In the letter of reprimand from Bristol, Tennessee Director of Schools Annette Tudor to Feathers, Tudor acknowledged that Feathers has a constitutional right to free speech. However, Tudor also said the post was unprofessional, inflammatory, violated the school systems employee social media policy and reflects badly on Bristol Tennessee City Schools.

"In fact, by using such lewd and inflammatory language while also identifying yourself as a school system employee in your social media profile and through previous posts, you have placed both yourself and Bristol Tennessee City Schools in a situation in which members of our community may doubt that we have their best interests at heart," Tudor said in the letter.

In the letter Tudor also tells Feathers the letter will be attached to Feather's personnel file and she could face further discipline if the school system hears of other unprofessional conduct. However, Tudor also said in the letter that she hopes Feathers learns and grows as an employee.

Jennifer Padilla, director of Human Resources, told the Bristol Herald Courier that the school system has received no prior complaints against Feathers. Feathers didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

In an emailed statement to the Bristol Herald Courier, Tudor said once the school district was made aware of the post, it immediately began an investigation and took what it determined to be appropriate disciplinary actions.

"The recent post by Ms. Feathers on her personal Facebook account is not representative of our district mission and beliefs. I expect all employees to remain respectful and caring toward all of our students, staff, and community members regardless of their beliefs or backgrounds," Tudor said in an emailed statement.

Tudor also said she is forming a staff diversity team whose initial purpose will be to propose professional development opportunities for our staff to develop awareness and understanding of diverse perspectives.

lgreiss@bristolnews.com | 276-645-2412 | Twitter: @Leif_Greiss

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