NEWARK -- As police investigate a teacher whose profanity-laced Twitter messages expressed violent thoughts toward students, a Newark teenager this week urged the school board to keep her on the job.
Krista Hodges has been under fire since this newspaper reported last week that the Newark Memorial High School teacher posted tweets saying she wanted to "stab some kids" and that some students "make my trigger finger feel itchy."
Hodges received a written reprimand from district leaders but was not fired.
High school senior Tristan Mosier told trustees at a Tuesday meeting that they should keep it that way because he and other Newark Memorial pupils support Hodges.
"She is not a demon or violent or the crazy person that the media and other sources say she is," Mosier said. "She has always opened up her classroom to all kids of all shapes, sizes and colors. Whenever a student had a problem, she was open to them."
But some parents, such as Jody Montgomery, asked the school board to remove Hodges from the classroom.
"Offer an employee assistance program to get her some help, but don't put her back in there with the kids," Montgomery said, noting that the controversy had made national news. "Right now we have a nation watching; it's time to stand up and keep our kids safe."
Mosier said although the teacher's tweets were unprofessional, she should not be fired.
"You'd be getting rid of the only teacher at the high school who cares for her students and makes sure they get through school with passing grades," he said.
Hodges deserves a second chance because of her devotion to students, said Laura Mosier, Tristan's mother. "Last year, for instance, we had prom and she came out to the lake where 150 students were taking photos," she said.
"She met each of them and spent at least an hour and a half telling them how excited she was ... for their future. That's not really common, and it's awesome that she does that."
Newark police's investigation of Hodges and her tweets "is ongoing," Cmdr. Mike Carroll said Wednesday.
Police initially expected to complete the probe by Friday, but said it is taking longer because "there are more people to contact than originally anticipated," Carroll said. "I do not have a timeline for the completion."
When investigators are finished, they will submit their report to the Alameda County District Attorney's Office, which will decide whether to charge the teacher with a crime.
Tim Erwin, Newark Unified's interim superintendent, said the district investigated the teacher's online messages but would not detail the discipline.
"The district deplores and disavows the statements made by Ms. Hodges," Erwin said at the meeting, reading from a written statement. "Nobody in this district community should misunderstand our efforts to follow legal procedures as an endorsement of or even tolerance for these unacceptable statements."
Contact Chris De Benedetti at 510-293-2480. Follow him at Twitter.com/cdebenedetti.