TISD Employee Caught In Controversy Gives KLTV 7 Her Side - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/25/06-Tyler

TISD Employee Caught In Controversy Gives KLTV 7 Her Side

The first email she sent to KLTV 7 responded to the injunction that was issued last Friday, preventing the release of the videotaped skit. It was after much prayer and consideration, Jontra says, that she requested that restraining order against TISD. In her email to us, Jontra writes, "Please understand that if and when the videotape is released it will completely vindicate me of any wrongdoing in the skit... It is in the best interest of the Bell Elementary School students and families as well as the residents of Tyler that the videotape not be released at this time." KLTV 7's Reporter Christine Nelson writes back and asks, "Is the skit not as offensive or inappropriate as it's being described?" Jontra replies, "Obviously, there were people who were offended by the skit. That is why we met with the five African-American staff members and apologized... I took the opportunity to stand before the entire Bell faculty by myself and apologize. Following this, I received an email from one of the African-American teachers graciously accepting my apology." Nelson then asks in the email, "Why did TISD terminate your contract and everyone else got to resign?" Jontra replies, "I asked administration repeatedly to judge me on my participation. I used no racially insensitive language, made no racial stereotypes and wore no costume. In my opinion, everyone else resigned because they were coerced and promised that administration would keep this quiet out of the media... I knew what I had done did not merit my resignation."

Jontra says nothing prepares a person for the kind of media scrutiny and criticism she's received. She also wrote that it's been difficult to be labeled something she's not.

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com

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