John King Wiki – John King Biography
John King is a board member of the Kyrene school district in Arizona, serving since 2012. He has been accused of threatening a constituent’s law career after the latter emailed him about delaying the start of school.
— katie loves kyrene teachers (@katiegiel) July 23, 2020
Katie Giel, a law student at Arizona State University and a former Kyrene student, said she was worried about the safety of students and teachers of the Kyrene school district, and wrote an email to King on the night of July 22, expressing her concerns about restarting schools in Arizona, a hotspot of the pandemic.
King’s response to Giel a few minutes later surprised her:
I am forwarding this to the district leadership. You will be contacted by the appropriate authorities. This may or may not affect your JD. I’d be careful sending such emails with this kind of verbiage.
Giel wrote back and said what seemed to offend King was the “weight of the health and safety decisions” that he had to handle. She asked him to “consider the safety of students and staff above all else” again. She also told him it would be “widely inappropriate” for him to threaten her career because she sent the previous email “as a constituent.”
King, who The Arizona Republic said appeared opposed to delaying the start of school, replied and said Giel was “uninformed.” He then asked her to plead with her “teacher friends” and mentioned her law degree again.
It would be helpful for you to do a thorough analysis of what is really happening so that you don’t come off so uninformed. Your teacher friends are able to cancel their contract without penalty. Why don’t you go plead with them. And I’m not the least bit intimidated by your JD.
Giel only identified herself as a law student at Arizona State University once in her signature in the first email. She said it was only a generic signature block that a lot of students would use and that she didn’t see her how her law degree was relevant to the discussion. “It never occurred to me that an elected official would threaten to interfere in my livelihood and in my education.”
And for him to do that, it was disgusting, but also very telling, I think, about the lengths that he will go to, to not be accountable to his voters. So I found that extremely troubling and that’s why I decided to post it on social media because I thought that voters in the Kyrene school district should know who they are electing.
King has faced backlash since Giel tweeted about their email exchange and many people expressed solidarity with Giel, including Doug Sylvester, dean of Arizona State University’s law school. He tweeted in support of Giel and said he hoped King would apologize.
Andrew Kennedy, a sustainability major at Arizona State University, replied to Giel on Twitter and said that King tried to interfere in his job too after he sent King an email on July 17, urging him to delay the opening of school in the Kyrene school district.
I have a strong feeling that with your term ending this year, the public will have a very critical eye of how you handle the safety of students and teachers when voting. If any teachers, students, support staff, or administration die from this virus because you choose to open before COVID cases go down, it will be on your hands.
Kennedy said King also emailed the organization he worked for on campus, but his bosses supported him. Just like Giel, Kennedy also had an email signature that indicated his identity.
Giel also learned about the incident with Kennedy, and she wasn’t too worried about what King could do to harm her career, saying that her emails were “completely appropriate and completely professional.”