HOUSTON (FOX 26) - School is back in session after a week-long spring break -- and that means HISD officials are also back, investigating anti-Muslim tweets that a teacher from Sterling Aviation High School sent out.
The teacher said his tweets against Islam originally grew from a Twitter war he was having against a Muslim-American attorney.
For many parents, it was a surprise to come return to on the first day back from spring break.
“He was helping my son join football and stuff like that, and he seemed nice, never thought he would be anything against Islam,” said Sheree Turner, the parent of 9th grader.
The teacher in question is James Bretney, a 9th grade vocational instructor at Sterling Aviation High School. HISD officials said they're now investigating after Bretney tweeted anti-Muslim messages, among them "I hate Islam" and "Embrace Islam and you embrace death," alongside graphic pictures of dead children.
Fox 26 spoke with Bretney over spring break.
“Islam is bad for people. It deforms people’s human spirit,” said Bretney to Fox 26 during spring break. “I respect my students. I love my students. My students are the reason I am in that classroom, but this is not about that. This is about one man expressing his opinion.”
Now, parents and caregivers are weighing in, and for the most part, saying it's not appropriate.
“For someone to put stuff out like that, me as a parent, I don’t think I would want my kid in that classroom or around such hatefulness. It’s just unethical,” said Turner.
“He should be respectful at all times, and his thoughts are his thoughts and everyone has freedom of speech, but if he talks bad about whoever he wants to talk bad, I think he should keep it to himself and not bring it out to the public because it looks bad on the teacher to say something like that,” said Fernando Mendez, the brother of a 9th grade student.
“I don’t think it’s ok but you should definitely keep those kind of comments to yourself especially if you know there’s students or teachers who's going to see the post on Twitter. It's not like it was private,” said Kajuan Gray, a Sterling HS alumna.
But we did find one parent who says she believes Bretney can say whatever he wants on his own time, because from what she's seen, Bretney has been a good teacher to her son.
“He's an excellent teacher, a wonderful teacher. I've had the pleasure of meeting him over and over and over. He teaches my son, and he's excellent with these children. He's not teaching these children to be racist,” said Deneese Collier, the mother of a 9th grade student.
HISD told Fox 26 on Monday that they are still investigating the issue.
In the meantime, the Council on American-Islamic relations has called for a meeting with HISD to discuss the issue.