Pending investigation the teacher, identified as Xane Fisher, was put on administrative leave in September. Those under a contract placed under administrative leave continue to receive their salary, however, Fisher was unable to teach and will still be unable to do so through the end of his contract.
“After receiving reports from community members and viewing videos of Mr. Fisher, the District initiated an investigation into allegations that Mr. Fisher engaged in conduct that violates the District’s Policies and Regulations related to Employee Conduct; as well as the professional practices standards for certificated school employees,” Tacoma Public Schools said in a statement to The News Tribune on Monday. “While Mr. Fisher resigned before the district completed its investigation, due to the serious nature of the concerns, the District is sharing its information with OSPI’s Office of Professional Practices.”
The investigation was launched after community members shared concerns of social media posts appearing to depict Fisher as participating in a banned Proud Boys Facebook group “induction video” in 2018. The video allegedly not only depicted Fisher clearly stating his name but noting that he was “a proud western Chauvinist who refuses to apologize for creating the modern world,” a declaration shared by members of the Proud Boys.
Concerns regarding Fisher’s involvement in the group are not new. Prior to working for Tacoma Public Schools he was an English teacher at Graham-Kapowsin High School where an investigation by the Bethel School District was conducted in Sept. 2019 for similar concerns. But at that time, the district concluded that there were “no overtly racial or otherwise inappropriate statements that warranted further action by the district,” according to a Sept. 5 letter from the human resources department, The News Tribune reported.
Following the Bethel investigation, Fisher wrote a letter calling the allegations false and claiming that they were spread by antifa. “Someone in that organization has stolen personal data from before I was a Bethel employee, fabricated a narrative, and manipulated the public sector’s due process to harass myself and my family over false accusations they created,” Fisher wrote in the Oct. 8, 2019, letter obtained by KIRO 7. “I am not a supremacist of any sort, nor am I a racist. The very accusation turns my stomach, and holds no credence,” the letter continued.
While the Proud Boys have been around for over five years, the group began gaining further national attention after Donald Trump mentioned the hate group during a presidential debate in 2020. Instead of denouncing white supremacy as he was asked to do, Trump gave the group orders: “Proud Boys: Stand back and stand by,” he said. “But I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem, this is a left-wing [problem].”
The group, known for its white supremacist ideology, openly calls “for violence generally” with leaders encouraging members to use violence to express themselves, Daily Kos reported. Following the Capitol riots on Jan. 6, multiple people including group members have been charged with involvement. But despite the number of those who get charged and are deemed associated with this hate group, the ideology still exists.
It is unfortunate that these conspiracy theories, groups, and hate ideologies exist as is and worse to see them in the educational system. As Americans continue to stand up against hate we can only hope that such individuals are unable to be involved in fields that influence the youth and educational system.