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Maud school trustee resigns after backlash for online post

by Christy Busby Worsham | June 5, 2020 at 3:52 a.m. | Updated June 5, 2020 at 3:53 a.m.
Gay Anderson, left, speaks to Francis Garner, his wife, Kerry Garner, and Darryl Wyrick while the Maud Independent School District Board of Trustees meets in closed session. Anderson, a 1976 graduate of Maud High School, addressed the board before it convened in executive session. She was the first black person to graduate with honors from the district. Francis Garner and Wyrick also traveled from Dallas to address the board. Wyrick is a 2009 Texas High School graduate.

Boyd Sartin, a longtime Maud Independent School District Board of Trustee member, submitted his resignation at a meeting Thursday after five people expressed displeasure with a comment he made on Facebook.

"Mr. Sartin's resignation followed comments that he posted on social media relating to protests occurring in Texas and across the United States," read a statement issued by Superintendent Chris Bradshaw after the meeting.

"We are grateful for the years of dedicated service that Mr. Sartin provided to the Maud ISD students and community. Mr. Sartin's remarks, however, do not reflect the civic responsibility that we teach our students every day on our school campuses. Mr. Sartin is apologetic for the damage his comments have caused," the statement said.

The resignation will be accepted at the next regular school board meeting, which is June 25, said Bradshaw.

Thursday's special meeting was called after concerns arose based on Sartin's comments to an "I Can't Breathe" post.

Sartin posted, "You must be a thug that has committed a crime."

On Wednesday, he said the comment was made in jest and was a very insensitive comment at a very inappropriate time."

Thursday's meeting opened with five people addressing the board individually.

Darryl Wyrick, a 2009 Texas High School graduate who now lives in Dallas, identified himself as the one Sartin said started the fire about the post.

"I did not start a fire in my opinion. I brought something to light," Wyrick said.

Instead of it starting with those words, Wyrick said the movement started on a couple on three-word phrases: "I Can't Breathe" and "Black Lives Matter."

Because of Sartin's Facebook comment, Wyrick said the community and people are hurting.

Wyrick closed by saying someone in a position of power and authority should not joke in that manner.

Francis Garner, also travelled to the meeting from Dallas.

"I was heartbroken to see that comment as an African American male, as someone who always feels threatened," he said adding the post showed a lack of empathy, emotional intelligence and leadership.

Garner said he did not know if Sartin's dismissal was in order but he would would not be comfortable sending his two daughters to Maud schools based on Sartin's post.

Sue Godsey, who lives in the Maud area and has been a teacher for 30 years, told board members "this was a fail on every part as far as I am concerned."

She said the post did not show concern or commitment for all students, adding it "does not represent my community."

Godsey called for Sartin's resignation or dismissal because she did not believe an apology was enough.

Gay Anderson, who said she was Maud's first black honor graduate in 1976, also addressed the board.

She told Sartin she thought he was "better than that" and suggested he receive sensitivity training.

She said she was unaware of the concerns about Sartin's comment until reading the paper Wednesday.

Tiffany Dowden, a Maud alum, taxpayer and parent of a Maud High School student, said she was embarrassed for the town and school as a result of Sartin's comment.

She was "outraged and deeply upset" by the post," she said. "I don't want my children to be let down and be trampled on."

The board went into executive session about 6:26 p.m. and reconvened into open session about 7:04 p.m.

The meeting was adjourned and officials said there would be an announcement forthcoming.

Several people attending the meeting stayed seated for a few moments after the meeting was adjourned.

Suddenly, Kerry Garner, Francis' wife, said, "Don't wink at me. I'm not the one to play with," as she apparently reacted to Sartin.

School police officials approached Kerry Garner and stood by her to calm things before it was announced Sartin had submitted his resignation.

Wyrick hugged Francis Garner upon leaving the building.

"I feel amazing. I feel the right thing was done. We were heard . This is a huge win for justice. I'm moved, almost to tears," Wyrick said.


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