LonAnthony Parker found himself unemployed after his employers saw a YouTube video of him rapping.
IDEA Public Schools maintains that Parker’s video was a violation of their professional and ethical conduct, but Parker explained that the video was part of his past.
“Currently I’m just looking for a job. I’m just looking for a job and trying to get my job back with IDEA,” the 34-year-old said.
Parker was first hired as a substitute teacher in March, but after getting his master’s degree in creative writer, he became a 9th grade English teacher.
In September, a parent reported the video to the school, in which Parker can be seen rapping while holding a machete. He is also shown with others firing guns in the air.
He said, “It’s all entertainment, but at the end of the day, it still relates to a certain demographic. I’m from the north side of Houston, Texas. I walk out of my house and I see nothing but negativity. You have drug dealing. You have killings. You have all types of negativity going on and so basically in the music, that’s what you talk about.”
He says that he did not post the video, but that the day after it was brought up, he was escorted out of his classroom and fired.
He said, “I’ve served in the United States Coast Guard. I don’t have a record. I have the education. I was hired. Obviously, I beat out a bunch a candidates and now it comes to the fact that, ‘Hey you know what? Now we’re going to let you go due to the content on YouTube.’ But the only way that you find this content is if you know what you’re looking for.”
IDEA Public Schools sent a statement to CBS 4 News:
“IDEA Public Schools can confirm that Mr. LonAnthony Parker was terminated on September 12, 2017. At IDEA, we have a specific social media conduct policy that states: Employees have a right to participate in social networking sites, blogs, forums, etc. as individuals in the community. However, employees should not post anything that would violate student confidentiality or the professional and ethical conduct expected of IDEA employees. Inappropriate communications, even if made on your own time using your own resources, may be grounds for disciplinary actions up to and including immediate termination. Harassing, obscene, defamatory, threatening, or other offensive content must be avoided by employees when engaging in activity on social media.”
Parker has filed an appeal with the district to keep his job. He has yet to receive a response.