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Pennsylvania teacher sues school for retaliation

A Pennsylvania woman who teaches high school level English was fired from her job in Doylestown last week amidst a controversy about her blog. The teacher has filed a lawsuit against the school, claiming that the firing was in retaliation for her exercise of her right to free speech.

Her blog was discovered by students last year and spread throughout the community via Facebook. It contained some controversial posts criticizing the students and the parents at the school, sometimes in harsh terms. She says she was using the blog as an outlet for her frustration but that she does enjoy teaching and wants to return to the classroom.

Public school teachers are an essential part of the community, helping to educate the next generation of Pennsylvania's leaders. They deserve the same respect for their rights and fair treatment in their jobs as all other employees, and certainly deserve to exercise their right to free speech.

The teacher says that after the school discovered her blog she began facing additional scrutiny from the school which included increased monitoring of her classroom. The school says that she was not terminated for reasons related to the blog, but that her performance as a teacher was subpar. The more likely explanation is that the school monitored her for any minor mistakes and used that as an excuse to fire her, when in fact the blog and controversy surrounding her critique of the students was the reason for the termination.

If she was fired because of the content on her blog, it is likely that her First Amendment rights were violated and the school may be liable for wrongful termination.

Source: MSNBC, "Teacher who called students 'loathsome,' 'rate-like' is fired," Jillian Eugenios, June 28, 2012.

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