A gay Georgia superintendent who was outed by an anonymous source with the help of the local right-wing newspaper editor is being pushed out of his job. Although the separation agreement was said to be mutual, it is clear Superintendent Anthony Pack understood he was no longer welcome to live or work in Monroe county any longer. His welcome mat had been snatched from under him and he likely felt it would be untenable to try and stay and fight for his job. At no time did I read of anyone on the Board of Education give any words of support until after this agreement was signed and Pack was ousted. He was alone and without any allies and likely felt it was a waste of time to try and stay without the support of the Board of Education which would have made his job very difficult.
The mutual severance agreement was unanimously voted on by the BOE will pay Anthony Pack $172,000 which is essentially his salary for 2015-16 with a bonus added in. They used a “no-clause” reason found in Pack’s contract which means they don’t really need a reason. Pack has been on medical leave since the local newspaper first printed a salacious innuendo-laden report but said he was ready to resume his duties shortly. More details of the separation agreement can be found here.
Superintendent in Monroe County Georgia Harassed After Being Outed as Gay
I first reported on this story back on March 20, 2015. Essentially an anonymous person contacted the local newspaper editor Will Davis and a BOE member and said that Anthony Pack had been using Grindr. This led to allegations that Mr. Pack had been using a school computer or school issued telephone and even more ridiculous claims that his equipment had been hacked.
The equipment was confiscated and to date they have found nothing illegal. It is also worth noting the messages and screenshots on Grindr occurred on a Sunday afternoon while school was not in session so this didn’t take place during school hours where it would have interfered with his duties.
To date it has not even been determined if he was using a school cellphone and not his personal cellphone for those messages. But let’s speculate for a moment and assume he was using the school phone. This might be against the system policy but it certainly isn’t illegal. But then if you want to apply the same standard to all other county employees you don’t have to go out on a limb and say every single employee in the county is guilty of using their government issued phones for some personal use at times.
If you install and play any game or even make a call or text that is not related to your job that is the equivalent technical violation of the policy. I challenge you to find even one person who doesn’t use a work phone for some personal use occasionally. We are not robots or automatons and that is both normal and to be expected. What would seem to be more egregious is when the instances are numerous AND done during work hours AND effect job performance. This isn’t such a case.
Was Anthony Pack pushed out because of Homophobia?
In a word…YES!!! I don’t see any other reason for him not to still have his job. By all accounts Anthony Pack has done an exceptional job as superintendent these past years when they viewed him as a married heterosexual man. The schools and test scores have improved under his tenure. Now that he is going through a divorce and was outed as gay, suddenly he becomes a toxic persona non grata and they throw him to the wolves.
Take a look at this twitter post by Will Davis who is the publisher of the paper that sensationalized and gave this story legs and printed several stories all based on an unsubstantiated and unverified rumor which was presumably the same individual that set Anthony Pack up by catfishing during their Grindr chat one Sunday afternoon. A Catfish is someone who pretends to be someone else in social media apps for dubious purposes.
The reality is anyone can create a profile of anyone else and pretend to be them. Someone could create a profile on Grindr of Will Davis for example if they chose to do so. But more to the point, even if Mr. Pack was messaging another man on a school phone….so what? A minor policy violation like that should be no more than a slap on the wrist and a reminder to use your private phone for personal communications.
In my opinion this had little to do with a policy violation and a lot more to do with the fact that Anthony Pack is gay. Are gay people in education not allowed to look for dates or friends? Are people going through a divorce not allowed to try and find companionship?
It’s not like there are any other ways to meet gay people in Forsyth besides apps like this. There are no gay social clubs, gay restaurants, or gay anything anywhere near Monroe County. Gay people in Monroe county and most of Georgia outside of Atlanta and a few other cities of some size really have no other choice BUT to use an app like Grindr or remain in total isolation from other gay people. Even in Macon which is the closest city of size to Monroe County, there are no gay bars or any other gay establishments where he could have met someone in person.
He was not accused of messaging a student. This was a private conversation that occurred on a Sunday afternoon between consenting adults. Would Will Davis had published this unsubstantiated sleaze had the anonymous source sent screenshots of a conversation between Anthony Pack and a female on Match.com, Tinder or dozens of other equivalent apps used by heterosexual employees on their government phones? Very doubtful.
Grindr an excuse to Grind a Homophobic Axe
Make no mistake, Grindr is not a pornographic app. It is no different that any other social media app. Even on Facebook and Twitter people can and do send nude picts of themselves in private messages and use them to meet people for hookups. Welcome to 2015 where this happens on practically any social media app capable of sending messages. Technology has revolutionized the way people meet.
No, the reason this got the attention of Will Davis was because Grindr caters to homosexuals who he described as the “Gay-stapo” for having the audacity to ask for equality in marriage laws. The fact that the real Gestapo murdered thousands of homosexuals in the Holocaust seems to escape Mr. Davis.
What was the motive for the catfish that sent screenshots of the Grindr chat to Will Davis and the BOE member? Who knows. Perhaps Mr. Pack turned him down and he wanted revenge or perhaps it was just someone setting him up for the sole purpose of releasing the messages and photos to destroy Mr. Pack’s reputation and get him fired.
All we can do is speculate since it appears no investigation will be done on this anonymous accuser as to his motives. It was all taken on face value with no scrutiny or any question as to the veracity. That is the bigger story in my opinion as it sets a very dangerous precedent that outing someone will cost them their job.
At the end of the day Monroe County, Georgia seems to have lost a very good superintendent. The people of Monroe county are on the hook to the tune of paying $172,000 in hush money for this to all go away in a summary dismissal. A man and his family had to suffer the indignity of public ridicule based off on an anonymous email. A strong message has also been sent to any other gay person in Georgia and 28 other states where you can be fired simply for being gay. It also makes any gay educator in Monroe county very fearful of losing their jobs if they dare to actually reach out to other gay individuals on social media instead of remaining celibate and isolated and deep in the closet and will make recruitment of promising new gay teachers much harder.
Perhaps Mr. Pack can find a new job as superintendent in a more tolerant school system. I do know the bigger story has nothing to do with Grindr and a lot more to do with vendettas, insecurities, and homophobia. Once he was outed his days were numbered by people like Will Davis who refer to gay people as the “gay-stapo”. To date, there has been nothing that proved any wrongdoing on his part whatsoever and all of these allegations are mere speculation and I expect the investigation will now end as it has done it’s job of pushing Anthony Pack out. After three months of no findings of anything illegal don’t expect any more to come of it.
Congratulations Mr. Davis, you won! You played a big part in running a successful gay superintendent out of town. You should be proud of yourself. Be sure and tweet your pal Vladmir Putin who shares your views and let him know. I am sure he would be pleased as will Georgia Senator Josh Mckoon who was behind the discriminatory hate bill.
If you still have any doubts as to the views Will Davis holds about gay people, let me leave you with two more Tweets that makes his views abundantly clear. Now does this seem like a guy who would try to run a gay superintendent out of town?
Below is a statement issued by the Monroe County School District
During a special called meeting held on Saturday morning, May 30, the Monroe County Board of Education finalized an agreement which terminates its seven-year relationship with Superintendent Anthony Pack. The action followed an executive session with their attorney. In returning to open session, the Board voted unanimously to enact a previously negotiated “no cause” separation provision in the Superintendent’s contract.
On behalf of the Board, Chairman Dr. J. Ray Grant made the following statement:
“It is time for this school district to move forward, and that begins with this decision. It has been approximately three months since the District provided Mr. Pack’s school-issued electronic devices to law enforcement. As of today, the District has not received any information that Mr. Pack used those devices to commit a crime. During those three months, the District and its employees have continued operations without an official chief executive officer. The Board believes it is in the best interest of the District, staff and students to take whatever action it can now so that all involved can move on.”
Following the action invoking the “no cause” provision, the Board voted unanimously to appoint Dr. Mike Hickman as Interim Superintendent. Dr. Hickman’s appointment is effective immediately.
The Saturday morning special called meeting of the Board follows Friday night’s Mary Persons High School commencement exercises which brought the 2014-15 school year to a close. Today’s action paves the way for preparations for the 2015-16 school year starting Monday, June 1.
Anthony Pack joined the Monroe County School District as Superintendent in June, 2008. During that time, Monroe County’s Schools have been consistently recognized among the highest performing in Georgia. Recently, Monroe County School District had Middle Georgia’s only top score in the state School Climate Ratings.
“Mr. Pack has always placed the best interest of the students at the forefront of the school system,” said Dr. Grant. “His efforts have been reflected in the success of our students and our schools. For that we are and will continue to be most appreciative.”
In naming Dr. Hickman to serve as Interim Superintendent, Dr. Grant said the Board feels confident the students and the system will continue to be in good hands. Hickman, along with Assistant Superintendents Angie Dillon and Jackson Daniel have shared the leadership position of the district for the past three months.
Dr. Hickman currently serves as Assistant Superintendent for Middle & High School Curriculum and Personnel. He joined the Central Office in 2012 after having served five years as principal of Monroe County Middle School. Prior to that, he taught at Mary Persons High School, was an assistant principal at Mary Persons High School, and was an assistant principal in Pike County. He is a 1984 graduate of Mary Persons High School and is a lifelong resident of Monroe County.