Chicago-Area Teacher Sues After Being Fired For Criticism Of Protests After George Floyd Murder

We have been discussing the investigations and terminations facing teachers over their expressing unpopular viewpoints on social media. Schools on both the high school and college levels are engaging in more monitoring of social media by students and teachers. The latest such case was reported in the Daily Herald  involves Palatine High School’s Jeanne Hedgepeth who criticized the rioting after the death of George Floyd and referring to the violence as a “civil war.” She was fired by

Township High School District 211 and is now suing the school district.  The case raises some of the same issues as the recent firing of a teacher in Loudon county — a case on appeal after he was reinstated by a court.

Hedgepeth was writing on her own time and on her personal social media accounts. She made a series of controversial statements like comparing the term “white privilege” to the use of the  N-word. She also referred to Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton as “race baiters.”

The complaint names in the federal lawsuit are  Superintendent Lisa Small, Director of Human Resources James Britton, and the five board of education members who voted in favor of Hedgepeth’s dismissal — Kim Cavill, Anna Klimkowicz, Robert LeFevre Jr., Steve Rosenblum and Ed Yung.

The complaint shows Hedgepeth on vacation in Florida and stating on May 31, 2020 “I don’t want to go home tomorrow. Now that the civil war has begun I want to move.”

 

One responder posted a meme  suggesting that the riots could be stopped with a septic tank truck and a pressure cannon. Plaintiff reposted the meme, adding, “You think this would work?”

The longest Facebook posting was on June 1, 2020 when Hedgepeth wrote the following:  posted

I am about facts, truth seeking and love. I will speak on any topic I choose because I live in a free country. I find the term “white privilege” as racist as the “N” word. You have not walked in my shoes either so do not make assumptions about me and my so called privilege. You think America is racist? Then you have been hoodwinked by the white liberal establishment and race baiters like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Travel the world and go see that every nation has racism and some more than others but few make efforts such as we do to mitigate or eliminate it. I have lived and seen. The people I am informed by about the black experience in America are actually some of the smartest people in America. And it so happens they are black. I highly recommend studying Thomas Sowell, who is now retired and in his 80’s. A treasure. A truth seeker. [D]oes REAL research and analysis. Candice Owens is one of the smartest and most courageous women in America and Larry Elders speaks the truth with a great sense of humor and FACTS not feelings. They are who I listen to when it comes to facts about the black experience in America. Don’t you think there is a deeper problem than racism when 50% of murders in America are committed by 13% of the population? Do you think there might be a subtle genocide of black babies when most planned parenthoods are put in poor neighborhoods and that 30% of abortions are black babies. [B]lack women only make up 7% of the U.S. population. The greatest power you have is what you believe about yourself. [W]hat have Democrats, mainstream media and intellectuals in ivory towers been telling the black community to believe about themselves for forty years? Wake up and stop believing them, then things will change.

Notably, none of these postings even identify Hedgepeth as a teacher or a District 211 employee, let alone post them in her capacity as a teacher or a District 211 employee. Yet, when she returned from her vacation, she was information that Defendant District 211 was investigating her for her May 31-June 1, 2020 Facebook posts.

Small ultimately accepted Britton’s July 14, 2020 recommendation of termination and then on  July 16, 2020 meeting, Defendants Cavill, Klimkowicz, LeFevre, Rosenblum, and Yung voted to terminate Plaintiff’s employment because of her May 31-June 1, 2020 Facebook posts. Two other board members, Mark Cramer and Pete Dombrowski, voted against terminating Plaintiff.

These are obviously observations that many would find upsetting or offensive. However, we have regularly discussed teachers making equally if not more offensive comments from the opposing viewpoints. Last year, Winthrop University Professor, April Mustian threatened K-12 teachers that they are being watched for any “rhetoric” deemed pro-police or anti-Black. We previously discussed the Vermont principal who was removed for  expressing her opinion of Black Lives Matter on her personal Facebook page. We also recently discussed the firing of a Michigan coach who expressed support for President Trump. However, this did not begin with the recent protests.  We have previously seen teachers (herehereherehereherehereherehereherehereherehere, here) students (herehere and here) and other public employees (here and here and here) fired for their private speech or conduct, including school employees fired for posing in magazines (here), appearing on television shows in bikinis (here), or having a prior career in the adult entertainment industry (here).

In my view, these comments should be considered protected speech. Teachers routinely voice opposing views in favor of Black Lives Matter or against white privilege. Indeed, we previously discussed a professor to warn K-12 teachers that their social media postings would be monitored for any pro-police or anti-Black rhetoric to hold them accountable.  Yet, we have seen terminations or investigations of teachers and public employees for denying that the United States is a racist country, deny Canada is a racist country, or calling BLM protesters “terrorists.

There is an obvious inconsistency in how social media postings are treated.  All of these comments on both sides are inflammatory or controversial.  Yet, there is a clear tolerance for some viewpoints over others.

The alternative is free speech. Many people spend most of their efforts trying to silence rather than to respond to others. Many of us found it disturbing when Chicago teachers went to Venezuela to praise the blood-soaked government as teachers, reporters, and dissents languished in jails. However, I would be the first to defend their right to such speech. Free speech allows you to offer your own viewpoint to counter speech that you consider insensitive, wrong, or racist. However, teachers have a right to express such viewpoints and to participate in these important debates about our history, our institutions, and ourselves.

Here is the Complaint: Hedgepeth-v.-Britton-Chicago-teacher-complaint-03790

 

41 thoughts on “Chicago-Area Teacher Sues After Being Fired For Criticism Of Protests After George Floyd Murder”

  1. I have ‘splained this before, but I shall ‘splain it again. There are no such things as high schools, colleges, or universities. All of these institutions have been reformulated replaced as Leftist Indoctrination Entities (“LIEs” ). And education is no longer part of the program. The LIEs serve one purpose and only one purpose: to program impressionable people into becoming obedient servants and promoters of leftist ideology. Consequently, any teacher employed by one of the LIEs that dares to actually educate students will necessarily be fired. Are we getting it yet?

  2. They fire a teacher who criticizes BLM and they want to teach your children that what matters is the color of their skin. Then they try to minimize CRT to tell you it’s not a problem. Let me present to you the actual criteria for what is being taught. https://nsjonline.com/article/2021/06/series-critical-race-theory-themed-training-in-wake-county-public-schools/. If you read this link they will tell you that you don’t really understand what CRT really is. If they didn’t want you to know what CRT really is they shouldn’t have published the principles of CRT that you might see. The firing of this teacher and the brainwashing of America’s children go hand in hand in the movement they are trying to pursue in our nation. These things have quietly been going on for sometime but the promoters of the CRT religion have become more emboldened with the advent of the Biden Administration. The supposed danger that the left has presented in order to stoke our fear of Donald Trump doesn’t even come close to the fear we should experience due to the brainwashing of our children from elementary school through high school. The vote is great thing as long as you can keep it.

    1. If they didn’t want you to know what CRT really is they shouldn’t have published the principles of CRT that you might see.

      The American Marxists have gotten away with gaslighting the American people, but the jig is up. They’ve awakened a sleeping giant that is growing in size and nothing will stop them from ridding this CRT cancer from our country.

  3. “These are obviously observations that many would find upsetting or offensive”. Offensive only to those who can’t deal with facts. It’s a ‘kill the message’ kinda thing,.. and liberals are experts in feigning being offended.. especially when it furthers their cause.

  4. “Candice Owens is one of the smartest and most courageous women in America”

    It’s actually spelled, Candace. Oh and she is a scammer hoodwinking conservatives for her own benefit and enrichment. The so-called “Freedom Phone’ proved that to me beyond any doubt. A cheap $119 rebranded Chinese smartphone being sold under the “Freedom Phone” moniker for $500. Oh but wait! Mention Candace’s name and get a 20% discount! Oh and did I mention the APPLE bashing woman is still tweeting from her iPhone? lol. I don’t care if she’s a supposed conservative, I don’t care if she’s black. she showed her true colors….

    1. Candace Owens and the Freedom phone have nothing to do with Turley´s post. You’ve got some serious psychological issues.

  5. This teacher’s observations are offensive only to people who do not tolerate dissent. There is nothing offensive in tone or content. One may disagree with the viewpoints expressed, but to take offense at these comments is to say that there is only one acceptable viewpoint.

  6. 70 shot, 12 killed over the weekend in Chicago.

    I bet you don’t even wonder what race the killers are and what race the victims are.

    No protests. Not even news these days.

    It’s not ‘gun violence’. It’s black violence.

    Black Lives Don’t Matter.

    1. Some, Select [Black] Lives Matter is a Pro-Choice religious principle. This threatens progress that returns us to the days of pre and post-apartheid South Africa where blacks aborted/lynched blacks of another shade, another continent, and native whites were either targeted or collateral damage. Diversity [dogma] breeds adversity in darkness at the Twilight fringe.

  7. It’s offensive to point out the obvious, that racism against whites has become normalized?

    The Left has seized control of the education system, from pre-K to grad school. Conservatives stood meekly by and let this happen.

    The Left does not tolerate political dissent. Toe the line or they will try to impoverish you.

    Get politics out of school. All teachers should leave their personal politics at home.

    1. Amen;

      I would further note that outside the minds of the woke left – Racism is NOT a consequential issue in this country.

      The relations between ordinary people of different races is more normal now than ever.

      In 1965 90% of americans opposed interracial relationships.
      In 2002 that dropped below 10% and the polls quit asking.

      I am a straight white male. I am just about the only straight white male I know.
      I do not have “black friends” – nearly my entire circle is made up of people who are not straight white males.
      I am told that only a few percent of the country is gay – I have more freinds, acquantances coworkers etc that are gay that straight.

      I am told the country will be majority minority in a few years. In my world that happened long ago.

      We all agree or disagree over myriads of issues. We still manage to get along.
      Though I am in far more danger of being ostracized by my woke friends than by the “trumpanzee’s”.

      To the extent there is worsening racial or other strife in this country – it is in the heads of “white highly educated urban self described elites”.

    2. Not just men and women, boys and girls, babies of white, but also yellow, brown, black, too, and all shades of diversity classes. Some, Select Lives Matter is a religious imperative and socially justified for the sake of social/modern/warlock justice. One step forward, two steps backward.

    3. Racism against whites is celebrated by many on the left…and they’re in control. There is no reasoning with such people.

  8. Since Loudoun County’s line-in-the-sand moment, some 165 local and national groups have sprung up to “disrupt lessons on race and gender,” according to an NBC News analysis. The parents I meet who show up in the hundreds to hear more about CRT, and who try to understand it, understand the tension between national planning and coordination, and acting locally.

    In this and other ways, they remind many observers of the “Committees of Correspondence” that sprung up in the colonies in the mid-1760s, when Britain was first introducing measures the colonists found intolerable. The committees facilitated communication among people in the 13 colonies, and were a conduit for the “revolution of the mind” that preceded the actual shooting a decade later.

    The committees were also like today’s anti-CRT movement in one way—they blended in spontaneity and widespread coordination. Samuel Adams, cousin to the more cerebral John Adam and a populist rabble-rouser, established the first one in Boston in 1764. Revolutions need both types. They also need a mix of local activism and nationwide strategy. The good thing is that today’s parents understand this.
    https://lawliberty.org/how-the-grassroots-are-resisting-crt/?utm_source=LAL+Updates&utm_campaign=bc3abf46e9-LAL+Updates&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_53ee3e1605-bc3abf46e9-72413845

    1. “[T]he ‘revolution of the mind’ that preceded the actual shooting a decade later.”

      “The Revolution was in the minds of the people, and this was effected, from 1760 to 1775, in the course of fifteen years before a drop of blood was drawn at Lexington.” (John Adams)

      Now *that* is a part of American history worth knowing.

      And for those who want to know more: _America’s Revolutionary Mind: A Moral History of the American Revolution and the Declaration That Defined It_ (C. Bradley Thompson)

      The book explains “the moral revolution that occurred in the minds of the people in the fifteen years before 1776. The Declaration is used here as an ideological road map by which to chart the intellectual and moral terrain traveled by American Revolutionaries as they searched for new moral principles to deal with the changed political circumstances of the 1760s and early 1770s.”

      1. Thank you for the book recommendation, Sam. I just ordered it. I have thought for quite some time (commented on this blog) that current events are very similar to the events after the 7 Years war, leading up to the DoI. The advantage we have over the 18th revolutionaries is we already have the system necessary to fulfill the principles embodied in the DoI. It’s more a matter of restoration than revolution.

    2. Missing from this nonsense is why is it necescary to introduce ideology at all in school ?

      I was educated in the 60’s and 70’s. So far I have not encountered a social justice warrior who knows as much about the dark racial past of the US as I was taught decades ago.

      Aside from the myriads of historical inaccuracies in the 1619 project, its most consequential failure is conflating the failure of the US to perfectly live up to its ideals and principles, with a failure of those ideas and principles.

      CRT posits that the entirety of western law and thought is not merely steeped in racism – but was constructed on deliberately racist foundations.

      This is historical nonsense. Did the authors of the magnicarte plot to enslave black and brown people ?
      In 1800 there were only 15,000 blacks in all of england.
      Obviously the entire english legal system was developed to oppress blacks.

      The US was not the first Western or Anglo sphere nation to end slavery, but it was one of the first. While most European nations did not have slavery in europe by the 19th century it was commonplace in their colonies.

      England ended slavery first, The US was near the start, but distinguished from other western nations in that in the US there was significant slavery in the “motherland” rather than colonies.

      Africa was the source of most slaves from before the north american colonies were settled through to today.

      The US and UK navies were instrumental in ending the slave trade. After the Civil War the US navy was constantly engaging slave traders off the east coast of africa traveling to the mideast. Slave trade from africa to the mideast continued well into the 20th century.

      Legal slavery existed until the late 20th century and illegal slavery continues to exist today.

      Further there was almost no instances of whites actually enslaving blacks in Africa. Slave traders – regardless of race bought people who had already been enslaved by blacks in africa. Contra Woke memes – blacks enslaved by blacks were not merely servants.
      They were property and treated badly. Nor were they predominantly spoils of war – as they were with the Romans and Greeks. These were people specifically abducted by black slavers for the purpose of selling as slaves.

      But you will not hear much of that from the left.
      According to the Left slavery is uniquely American, which is a historical nonsense.

      Also according to the left the wealth of this country was produced by black slaves – this is obvious utter nonsense.

      Inarguably the much of the wealth of southern aristocracy was the product of slavery.
      But that is a small portion of american wealth, and even a small portion of the south.
      White slave owners in the south were the 1% of their time. Most whites might have been racist – in the sense that they considered themselves to be better than blacks. But they were not slave owners.

      The argument that the wealth of america was created by slavery is more ahistorical nonsense.
      If that was so how did the north – were slaves had never been common and had been abolished decades before win the civil war ?

      The real wealth of the US was created almost entirely by free whites in the north east for much of US history.

      But you will not hear this from the woke left.

      The US has been an object lesson to the world – and most of that lesson has been with respect to the success of our values and principles – not the occasions in which we failed to live up to them.

      To the extent we are going to indoctrinate our children – THAT lesson of “american exceptionalism” is the lesson they are owed.

      We should be ashamed of the instances int eh past where we failed to live up to our principles.
      But we should be proud of the far more numerous instances in which we did.

      But even that lesson ONLY comes AFTER our children have skills in the 3R’s

      Today in far too much of the country – mostly in the poorest regions and mostly where we spend the most on education, our children have not gained adequate skills in the 3R’s on graduation. Until that is accomplished – all the other propoganda nonsense of the left is irrelevant.

      In what world does the left imagine that a student who can neither read, write or do math very well is going to succeed – even if all racism ceased to exist. Conversely we KNOW that if you graduate from /high School with a good background in the 3R’s and avoid becoming a criminal, getting pregnant, and marrying before you are ready that your life prospects are both good and almost identical regardless of race.

      1. I’ve always felt that if the leftists wanted to level a complaint about America’s acceptance of slavery, they should be complaining about our ‘cultural appropriation’ of the African practice of slavery. America was merely respecting the cultural norms of the African tribes who sold slaves to the western slave traders. Funny how they have never raised THAT issue in regards to slavery.

        1. Slavery is absolutely americas “original sin”.

          It is immoral and reprehensible and we should not have done it. Most of our founders – even southerners understood that.
          And yet we continued the practice for about 70 years anyway.

          But the US did not create slavery – it has existed for likely 150,000 years.
          The US was not first to get rid of it – but it was among the first.
          Further the US sacrified nearly 1/2 million lives to free slaves.
          No other nation has done that.

          We should not forget what we have done wrong – but we should not lie by sugar coating it or exagerating its scale or duration or the extent to which it was a global norm at the time. There are few blacks anywhere in the world that did not get there as a result of slavery.

          While not forgetting what we have done wrong – we should not lose sight of what we have done right.
          The US and our principles – the principles of our flawed founding fathers – changed the entire world dramatically for the better.
          The concepts of natural rights, individual liberty and self government, all came to their first consequential fruition in the US.
          Absolutely we arrived there on the shoulders of giants, but the US put it all together in a way that has changed the entire world.

      2. In what world does the left imagine that a student who can neither read, write or do math very well is going to succeed – even if all racism ceased to exist.

        John, that assumes these American Marxists have any interest in traditional education outcomes; reading, writing and math proficiency. K-12 is today’s battlefield and they have gone all in to create the next generation of useful idiots. Parents a rising up however against the poisonous indoctrination of their children.

        That will happen through the imposition of “action civics” (more accurately called “protest civics”). This scheme would encourage or even require students to engage in political advocacy – which means left-wing political advocacy – as part of their civics course.

        Leftists are pushing this on a national level via initiatives like Educating for American Democracy (EAD). As Stanley Kurtz has explained, EAD’s self-description as a bipartisan attempt to improve students’ civic knowledge actually conceals a stealth attempt to impose nationalized standards that encourage protest civics. Dominated by leftist individuals and organizations, the EAD coalition has produced a “roadmap” and associated reports that “are thoroughly progressive in both their underlying assumptions and their details.”

        Certain professed conservatives have endorsed the EAD initiative as a model of “consensus” on teaching civics, but Kurtz calls this “consensus by surrender.” Fordham is one of these “conservative” groups. Endorsing EAD, Fordham is now replicating its Common Core strategy to install progressive civics instruction in K-12 schools.
        https://thefederalist.com/2021/07/26/dont-be-fooled-by-conservative-groups-pushing-a-leftist-takeover-of-civics-education/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=the_federalist_daily_briefing_2021_07_26&utm_term=2021-07-26

        1. You raise another problem with Woke leftism.

          Everything we have – everything the left thinks is a right is the consequence of the standard of living that our prior productivity has guaranteed us.

          Cave men do not debate intersectionalism – the weak die. Until the modern era – every status atribute of the woke intersectional culture meant death or at the very least a poor and brutish life.

          If as you say the left care not a whit about reading, writing and math. How do they expect our bridges and buildings to stand ? How do they expect cars and food to be produced.

          Respect is not a right, healthcare is not a right, being gay is not a right.
          Even food is not a right. The extent to which we have anything that makes up our “standard of living” – that is not by right, but by our productive effort. Without a fundimental education – we are not productive.

          Everysingle thing those on the left think is a right – is the product of our vastly improved standard of living because of out greater liberty.

          It took us 150,000 years to get here. It is not free, automatic or ours by right.

          When the bridge you are driving over collapses underneath you – you are dead – whether you are white or black, straight or gay or trans.

          The universe does not care that you exist.
          The law of entropy requires that you produce or die.

          1. The universe does not care that you exist.

            That is such a good point. The Left remind me of the self-centered adolescent that hasn’t yet learned what the long-term consequences are for their behaviors today. We are headed for either a restoration of our constitutional republic or a revolution. The former will happen when the adults in the Democratic party take their party back from their adolescent, radical Left. If not, well then we’re on the clock for a revolution.

            1. I have made the argument for a long time that the democratic party’s internal problems are much greater than those of republicans.

              There are more divisions within the GOP, but there is also more common ground and less conflict.

              The modern left is bat$hit crazy – but the democratic party can not win elections without them.
              Nor will they be likely able to win elections for long with them.

              You speak of the adults in the democratic party stepping in and putting the childrn in their place.

              Who ? Pelosi ? Durbin ? Shumer ? Swallwell ? Schiff ?

              Who ?

              What we are seeing is a democratic party that has been “occupied” by its extreme left flank.

              It must consistently tack further and further left to secure a small portion of votes that are essential to win elections.
              Yet by moving left they risk losing their own right flank and the center of the country.

              The strategy of painting republicans as radical, extremists etc, is a necesity – thee moment the center of the country lets go of that notion the democratic party is doomed.

              1. Who? I have no idea. The point is they better find them or they will reap what they’ve sown.

  9. I am offended by the imposed infantile term “n – word”
    Do rappers rap about the “n -word” ?
    No they do not.

    If we are going to make grown ups speak like infants we are going to have a country full of infantile adults incapable of serious discussion.

    Oh… Wait…. We are already there…

  10. Teachers should wear a badge on their shirt which have the letters:. DTN!
    That means:. Don’t Talk Now!

  11. It may seem off topic, but here’s an idea to get urban crime mobs under control
    Just start rounding them up.
    The cops know who they are and their bases of operation.
    Just raid them. Take all the drugs, all guns….and all the cash. Also anything else of value. All the phones, tablets, computers. Jewelry, tennis shoes, jackets, etc. All of it.
    Yes I know, the raid will not stand up in court, but that doesn’t mean they will get their stuff back…right away. Just lawfare them into leaving the jurisdiction.
    I am confident the official in charge will suffer the same consequences as school administrators.

  12. The Lefty censors intimidate independents into submission (and firing is a pretty good intimidator).

    Even though the defendants will probably lose, the message was sent and who wants to be fired and have to sue for reinstatement?

    Also no personal consequences for the censors.

    Expect Lefty censorship to continue.

  13. “…the recent firing of a teacher in Loudon county”

    Loudon county, eh? I’m reminded of The Devils of Loudun, and, of course, the brilliant Oliver Reed in The Devils.
    A somewhat similar story, methinks.

  14. There is often confusion about what speech triggers the constitutional protection afforded speech.
    This would be the classic Government denying free speech.
    But why are teachers censored?

    Very simply. Democrats can never prevail on the battle field of ideas.

    Democrat ideas, thus their agenda fails when measured against facts.

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