Eric Dodge, a science teacher at Wyeast Middle School outside Portland, Oregon, violated his First Amendment rights after wearing a MAGA hat on staff training day featuring racial bias training won a lawsuit against Evergreen School District.
In legal papers released just before New Year’s Eve, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit defended dodge the right to wear a hat despite school administrators’ attempts to admonish him. “She felt threatened and traumatized” by seeing the hat, she complained.
Other teachers also complained that one was reportedly crying and another was being threatened by the sight of the hat. The commotion causes the principal to reprimand Dodge to use “better judgment” in the future.But Dodge kept his hat on in the next day’s session prompt The principal calls Janae Gomez, the school’s personnel officer.
At the end of the staff training day, Dodge approached Garrett and asked for an opportunity to teach a non-science class. It added that Dodge was “homophobic, racist, bigoted and full of hate.” Garrett denies portraying the dialogue.
This experience led Dodge to file a lawsuit against Garrett, Gomez, and the Evergreen School District. The Court of Appeals only ruled in favor of Dodge’s claim against Principal Gomez.
“It is natural that some people may not like the political message being conveyed, and that in itself is grounds for finding the kind of confusion that goes beyond First Amendment speaker rights. Therefore, Principal Garrett’s asserted administrative interest in preventing confusion among staff did not outweigh plaintiffs’ right to free speech,” the court said.
The court document also cites Wyeast principal Caroline Garrett in detail explaining her decision to censor Dodge.
“Mr. Dodge’s decision to wear a MAGA hat on school grounds, within weeks of the Trump administration’s much-publicized initiative to deport as many immigrants as possible, is a testament to Wyeast’s cultural inclusivity and It was an affront to their interest in creating safe places for ELL students. We had reasonable grounds for showing leniency,” Garrett told the court.
Dodge reportedly resigned from her teaching position in 2020. fox.