Howard Palmer, the Denton High School administrator who was heard repeating racial slurs in a covert recording circulated online, is no longer an assistant principal at the school.
Palmer has been on administrative leave since April 27, but an investigation into his conduct was officially concluded Tuesday, said Julie Zwahr, spokeswoman for the district.
“Mr. Palmer will not return to the district,” Zwahr said in an email Wednesday morning.
Palmer agreed to a voluntary separation with the district, said spokesman Derrick Jackson, but the exact terms under which he left the district were not immediately clear.
Ordinarily, the school board would have the final say on an employee whose employment status had come into question.
Palmer left the district before the board’s next regularly scheduled meeting.
Prince Njoku, the parent who posted his recorded conversation with Palmer to social media, said he wasn’t surprised how the assistant principal left the district.
“A racist administrator was exposed,” Njoku said. “To be honest, I didn’t even expect him to get fired.”
Njoku said it’s typical for people in the sort of position Palmer was in to be transferred or given a severance package to go quietly.
“I’m really aware how the system is set up and how it works, so nothing will surprise me,” Njoku said.
Palmer was not fired, but it is not yet clear whether he received any monetary compensation as part of his voluntary separation.
Palmer was put on leave a day after a video recording of a parent-teacher meeting between the assistant principal and Njoku began to circulate on social media.
In the video, Njoku and his daughter, LaTasia Woodard, talk to Palmer about his use of the word “n----r” as an adjective to describe rap music.
Most of the nearly 7-minute recording shows Njoku explaining to Palmer how the use of the word, regardless of context, is unacceptable.
Toward the end of the video, Palmer states matter-of-factly: “I grew up with that word.”
“I totally know, Mr. Palmer, because if you didn’t, you wouldn’t have used it as an adjective to describe a category of music,” Njoku says.
Njoku subsequently had a meeting with Jackson. Despite the meeting, neither Jackson nor Zwahr was directly involved in the human resources investigation into Palmer’s behavior.
A district retiree has stepped in to fill Palmer’s spot through the end of the school year, though Jackson did not release that employee’s name.
Palmer has been the commanding officer over six civil affairs regiments of the Texas State Guard’s Army Component since 2015, according to his LinkedIn account. He left the Texas State Guard in January 2018 with the rank of brigadier general.