If you believe American citizens are free to speak their minds and are protected by the First Amendment, then you might not want to think twice before moving your children to Springfield, Missouri.
An Obama-appointed US District Judge, Douglas Harpool, ruled against Brooke Henderson and Jennifer Lumley, two teachers who voiced a constitutional objection to forced antiracist training imposed by the school district.
Not only did the two educators lose their lawsuit the judge ordered a judgment against the teachers to reimburse the Missouri school district $313,000 in legal fees.
The plaintiffs’ attorneys will appeal the case calling the ruling “overtly hostile,” but it seems clear that the district is sending a clear message to other teachers and parents that bringing future lawsuits could be costly.
Judge Harpool said in his January 12 summary judgment that the teachers were not physically or mentally injured and called the action by the two teachers “frivolous. Harpool said the monetary award could have been better spent on helping students.
On March 31, the order to pay the $313,000 attorney’s fees were put in place.
Henderson and Lumley voiced their disagreement with parts of the training but never faced any form of official discipline. But in their suit, they asked, “Does a school district have the power to force employees to teach antiracism and equity messages as they are defined by the district?”
This lawsuit is a first in civil rights cases that centers on the requirement of educators to have unconstitutional views on race and politics.
It was revealed that at least four others claimed they self-censored so they would not be the target of the district’s retaliation but felt the work environment had become more hostile as a result of the mandatory antiracist training.
The next legal stop will be in the 8th Circuit. If Harpool’s ruling is upheld there, then parents and teachers will be powerless against government edicts regarding the constitutional teachings of America’s children.