CEDAR PARK, TEXAS (KXAN) — A Cedar Park council member is in the hot seat, after making comments directed toward teachers on his personal Facebook blog.
Thursday, the Cedar Park City Council approved a motion to censure Council Member Tim Kelly. The censure is a formal reprimand and does not carry any punishment.
KXAN’s Kaitlyn Karmout spoke to Cedar Park’s mayor following Thursday’s motion:
“We’ve got a lot of people that look at Cedar Park. We’ve got businesses, teachers, our school district, other people we partner with. It’s not just about this one council member, Tim Kelly. We have a lot of regional partners who say, ‘Hey where do you guys stand on this?’ We just want to make crystal clear that calling women in our city prostitutes and lunatics…. that’s not okay. We made a formal statement that we are not going to tolerate that,” said Cedar Park Mayor Corbin Van Arsdale.
The motion passed with a 4-3 vote. Kelly and council members Dorian Chavez and Mike Guevara voted against it.
During Thursday’s four-hour specially-called meeting, city council members and dozens of residents discussed Kelly’s social media behavior.
Kelly said Thursday night during the meeting that his post was not about teachers in Texas or the Leander Independent School District.
Van Arsdale says this action serves as a formal reprimand that will be documented for years to come.
“Censure is the formal reprimand that is done by a legislative body. There is a big difference compared to just sitting back and saying something on Facebook like, ‘Oh I don’t like that guy,’ verses formally voting, and going on the record. That goes on the minutes, that goes on the agenda, that will be there forever,” he said.
In days prior, hundreds of educators and parents blasted Kelly for his remarks.
“To think that we are as replaceable as widgets… is dehumanizing,” said Leander Independent School District teacher Stephanie Martin. “To call us leeches, I think is beneath comment.”
As teachers and parents gear up for the uncertain school year, they say this doesn’t help their peace of mind.
“It is incredibly defamatory, beside the fact of just being deflated,” said Parent Leah Keese.
Kelly posted a message on his page saying “stop catering to the leeches… ” and suggesting that the teachers who refuse to return to the classroom should be fired and replaced.
The mayor responded publicly before the meeting on Facebook as well.
“This is a reprehensible and embarrassing act, and absolutely not the opinion of our city government or our city council,” said Van Arsdale.
Kelly responded to many of the hundreds of comments on his post. He repeated his position that the problem is “not necessarily the teacher(s)… It’s with America’s parents being held hostage by union leaders demanding lockdowns continue.”
In a bit of irony, his comments seem to have reinforced an effort already in the works for Leander ISD educators to organize an association.
“I will say it made us busier,” said Martin.