- Molly Bloom Atlanta Journal-Constitution
It was a feel-good story that came to light on social media and drew national attention, a letter from a student who had never met his “real dad” thanking his teacher for being like a father to him.
But The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned that the letter’s recipient, who represented himself as a fifth grade Atlanta teacher, isn’t what he says.
The Twitter user who posted what he said was a letter from one of his students goes by the name @mainey_maine online. In a brief phone call with the AJC and in other media interviews, he identified himself as Jermaine Stubbs, a fifth grade teacher at Manning Oaks Elementary in Fulton County.
Manning Oaks’ principal has never heard of a Jermaine Stubbs, district spokesperson Susan Hale said. And Fulton County has no record of a Jermaine Stubbs working for the district, she said.
Stubbs isn’t even licensed to teach in Georgia, according to the state agency that oversees educator certification.
Stubbs spoke with the AJC briefly by phone Saturday, saying initially he was a fifth grade teacher at Manning Oaks. When told that Fulton County Schools said no one by his name worked for the district, he said he was actually a “parent specialist.” He then ended the call and has not replied to messages from the AJC since.
Stubbs gave a different story to WXIA-TV in Atlanta. He told the television station he was a paraprofessional at Tuskegee Airmen Global Academy in Atlanta Public Schools. But that district too has no record of him, district spokesperson Kimberly Willis Green said.
In the months before posting the letter that went viral, Stubbs has shared on Twitter photos of him with children and another letter he said was a “get well” letter from a student. He also shared his thoughts about the Falcons, Hennessey Cognac and the fickleness of Atlanta women.
“I've done had at least 10 interviews since MOnday,” Stubbs tweeted.
“I wish more teachers was like you. I will never forget you. I look at you like my dad. I never met my real dad but it okay because you treat me like I'm your son. You make me so happy. Always feeding me when I am hungry and hug me when I am sad. I will never forget you Mr. J.”
The letter has brought Stubbs other attention too. Someone sent him money through an online payment service for “being a good teacher,” he tweeted.
And Stubbs tweeted Friday that he’d been recognized at a bar. “This girl at the bar looked at me and said ‘ omg you're the teacher from twitter who's letter went viral’ lol smh,” he tweeted. “I didn't know men that are great with kids is such a turn on to women lol.”