by Doug Brown
The federal civil rights lawsuit filed last month by a teacher who was essentially fired for making an anti-dairy farm Facebook post has been settled, with the school district agreeing to pay up.
The ACLU of Ohio and PETA represented teacher Keith Allison in the lawsuit against the Green Local School District and its administrators saying the teacher's First Amendment rights were violated when he was canned. Click here for our post on the suit, which contains the Facebook posts in question and the district's response.
Allison, an outspoken vegan and teacher in the district, had made Facebook posts criticizing a local dairy farm and the condition in which their cows were held. It then got the attention of the school district's administrators and he was let go because it ("we need our teachers to really consider the whole community when doing these sort of things, especially when our biggest tax payers are dairy farmers," the superintendent would say).
According to the agreement this week, the district approved paying out $17,500 to settle the suit. $6,679 will go to ACLU and PETA, and the rest will go to Allison for back pay and pension contributions. The ACLU released a press release today:
“We are pleased to have reached an agreement that upholds the First Amendment rights of public school teachers, such as Keith Allison,” said Joseph Mead, an ACLU cooperating attorney representing Allison. “The settlement vindicates Keith for his Facebook post and affirms the school district’s obligation to permit its employees to freely express their opinions on community concerns outside of work.”