Jane Wood Allen, a paraprofessional at an elementary school in Forsyth County, Georgia, was fired Monday after making disparaging comments about Michelle Obama. According to the school district, Allen posted on Facebook, in reference to the First Lady: “This poor gorilla. How is she going to function in the real world, by not having all of her luxurious vacations paid for anymore?”
It’s not the first time racially charged comments have landed Forsyth County’s school system in the national spotlight. In January, an associate superintendent, Jeremy Spencer, lost his job for posting a picture on Facebook implying that President Obama should be lynched.
Allen’s comments on Facebook left local parent Kassie Silver “appalled.”
“It’s absolutely racist,” she said. “She’s an African-American. You’re comparing her to a gorilla. Two and two. There you go.” Gregory Smith, another local parent, also voiced his concern. “When it comes to representing a school, Chestatee Elementary, I think you need to really watch it because these kids are our future,” Gregory told a local news station covering the story.
No one from the school district would comment, but a statement was released to the press. “Jane Wood Allen has been relieved from duty and is no longer an employee of Forsyth County Schools. Racism and discrimination are not tolerated in our school district. We are committed to ongoing staff training on the acceptance of all individuals.”
Forsyth County caught the attention of Oprah Winfrey back in 1987 because for most of the 20th century leading up to that point, the county had never had a black resident. For that reason, she decided to tape a show there, during which some residents told her it was their right to live in an all-white community if that’s what they wanted.