The public comments, on a Grove Sun Facebook post, have come under fire for a member of the Grove Public School's Board of Education.

On Tuesday, April 10, Patsy Wilhelm and other members of the Grove Classroom Teachers Association, stood before the Grove School Board to call for Terry Jones' resignation.

At question, was Jones' comments on a Facebook post made on March 30, on the Grove Sun post letting know classes would not be in session on Monday, April 2.

In response to the post, Jones replied "DISAPPOINTED with our staff" followed by two emojis of skull and cross bones.

The comment, which has since been deleted by Jones, remained online for some time, garnering a mixed bag of comments both for and against Jones.

Wilhelm said she came before the school board, representing a "majority of the staff."

She said while the teachers have not taken a formal vote of no confidence to date, most believe they can no longer expect support from Jones - be it a school situation or across the negotiating table.

Wilhelm said she was frustrated, because rather than address the issue in private, Jones told the teachers in a public manner his true feelings.

"We feel like we do not have his support," Wilhelm said, "especially if something like this drastic [the walk out] happens again."

Wilhelm said Jones' choice to end the message with "skull and cross bone" emojis was also hurtful.

 "We didn't understand him using those images," Wilhelm said. "For us, skull and cross bones mean poison. Are we poison? Or was it meant to harm us.

"In today's society, school employees take everything seriously. We don't joke about [threats]. We don't allow it with our students. We just didn't understand the [message]."

Wilhelm said students would not be allowed to make a similar post, with out repercussions from school officials and their parents.

"Him being disappointed in us is understandable, but to say something without getting all of the facts ... before going on social media," Wilhelm said. "It's a lack of respect and support."

During the same meeting Debi Troppman, who works as support staff at the high school, stood up to ask everyone - board members and teachers alike - to use discretion when making posts on social media.

"We've heard it since we were kids in church," Troppman said. "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

She referred to Jones' comments as a "crack in the dam" which needed fixing. 

She said it greatly damaged her trust in Jones, because he did not follow the proper chain of command - by going to administrators or the GCTA for clarification before posting his comment.

"When you lose respect, you can't get it back," Troppman said. "There's a lack of respect [now] and I while I don't have a degree [as support staff] I felt like this was a slap in the face."

School response

Dr. Jim Rutter, president of the Grove School Board, said he could understand the teachers' frustrations with Jones' post. 

"I can't comment on their perceptions," Rutter said, referring to Jones use of the emojis.  "I'm not a big fan of social media because I think conversations are best between people. On social media you lose all subtext and context.

"Do I think Terry Jones was threatening people, no. But knowing teachers I could see how it could be perceived as a threat. 

"It's why you call people, and talk to people."

Grove Superintendent Sandy Coaly said she understands why her staff took offense of the post.

While she hopes Jones can rebuild trust with the teachers, she does not know what the future will hold.

"I know he really offended them," Coaly said. "It's one thing to disagree, but to use emojis with skull and cross bones - they took those two emojis to heart."

Jones' Response 

At the beginning of the board meeting, Jones stood before the more than 75 teachers and administrators packed into the district's administrative office, to apologize. 

"I'm truly sorry," Jones said. "I respect you guys and believe I've always done a good job for the district. 

"I hope I can win back your respect. I hope you will let me do it. I think I have done some good for the district and I hope you allow me to go ahead."

In response, those in the gallery - as well as Jones' fellow board members - remained seated and unresponsive.

After the meeting, Jones called the post a "real error."

He understands how teachers could take the post as a show of no support.

"It was certainly not on my mind when I did that," Jones said, adding he was frustrated because prior to the decision on March 30, teachers planned to stay in school.

"I was disappointed [they walked out]," Jones said. "I wish we hadn't walked out, but instead sent representatives from each building, a different educator every day."

Jones said on Wednesday, if he could do it over again, he would have handled expressing his disappointment in a different way.

"I was mad," Jones said, adding that at the time the skull and cross bone emojis "were probably the ugliest thing I could think to post. But I didn't mean anything by it.

"In hindsight, I should have kept [the conversation] private and spoken those things to educators and individuals and just talked with them.

"It was just a stupid move on my part. I don't expect people to always agree with what I say or do. What I did was wrong. I apologized [at the meeting] but that didn't go well."

Jones said he will continue to support the school district, as he has in the past, concerning all issues.

"It's not my plan to resign at this time," Jones said.

After the meeting, Wilhelm said she hopes Jones can earn the teachers and support staff's trust back.

She said it would take layers of communication in order to begin the healing process.

"You need to educate yourself before you think of something to post," Wilhelm said, adding she would not rule out a vote of no confidence taking place in the future.