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Local athletic director resigns after two offensive online posts

Published: Jun. 26, 2020 at 6:24 AM EDT
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MARTINEZ, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The Columbia County School District accepted the resignation of Lakeside High School Athletic Director Jody Hilley, effective immediately.

It happened after the emergence of a second offensive post blamed on him.

The school district says they were made aware of the first post on Sunday, and started their investigation on Monday. Hilley apologized for that post, saying it was shared on a social media site by accident.

Superintendent Dr. Sandra Carraway says a second racially offensive post from years earlier surfaced Thursday and by the evening, Hilley resigned.

“I can’t say enough how distressing this is for all educators in our school district and the leadership who give their heart and soul for the betterment of kids and when something like this happens, it calls into question the leadership and what everyone does,” Dr. Carraway said.

District investigation into racist Facebook post
District investigation into racist Facebook post

However, news later surfaced of a second post that district officials tell News 12, “We were made aware, and it has become part of our investigation of this matter. Again, we don’t accept this kind of behavior.”

Carraway says the posts are offensive and unacceptable.

“Educators are held to a high standard for performance and for character. We work with children and we work with families,” she said. “We, from all accounts had not had anything like this come to light before.”

District officials said the second post was also something they were investigating.

The posts caught the attention of a national and international civil rights group. Parents reached out to the International Congress on Faith and Justice, calling for Hilley's resignation.

They say the conversation goes beyond one instance.

“I think the entire school curriculum needs to be redefined and redeveloped to take into account the white supremacy and racism is at the root of those problems,” Dexter Wimbish, chairman and clergy coalition of the International Congress on Faith and Justice, said.

The superintendent says even though Hilley resigned, the investigation will continue with a report going to the Standards Commission. The standards commission will then determine if they need to investigate further and if action needs to be taken.

News 12 did reach out to Hilley for comment and have not heard back. He did send a statement to the press about the posts.

Hilley was hired by the district in 1988 and served at Lakeview for 12 years, beginning in 2008. He became athletic director in 2014-15, and taught physical education/health at the school.

He has served as head coach for:

  • Boys basketball
  • Girls basketball
  • Golf
  • Girls lacrosse

He has served as an assistant coach for:

  • Football
  • Softball
  • Boys basketball

The district’s statement

Here’s a statement issued by the district this morning:

Thursday, June 25, 2020, the Columbia County School District accepted the resignation of Lakeside High School Athletic Director Jody Hilley, effective immediately.

The district began an investigation after receiving information Sunday, June 21, 2020, about a racially inflammatory Facebook post made by Mr. Hilley. The posting of such messages is unacceptable and inappropriate, especially for an educator.

The Columbia County School District is committed to providing its students and staff with a safe, positive educational environment. To this end, we hold our faculty and staff to the highest standards of behavior and will not accept conduct that detracts from this mission.

Questions or concerns regarding this matter may be directed to the Board of Education by emailing contactus@ccboe.net or by calling 706-541-0650.

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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