The Washington Times reports that a high school teacher in Illinois is suing her former employer over claims that she was fired for posts on her personal Facebook page that criticized riots that took place in Chicago last year following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
Jeanne Hedgepeth, a 20-year veteran at a high school in the Chicago area, had reportedly written in a social media post after one deadly riot: “I don’t want to go home tomorrow. Now that the civil war has begun I want to move.”
She also reportedly said she believed “white privilege” was a racist term and voiced support for conservative pundits like Candace Owens, according to the Times.
“A clear civil rights violation”
The teacher now says the moves resulted in her firing — and she hasn’t been afraid to fire back with a lawsuit claiming her civil rights were violated.
“The school district took what could have been a teachable moment about respecting diversity of viewpoints and turned it into a clear civil rights violation,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group that is helping represent Hedgepeth in the suit, according to the Times.
Fitton argued that “Hedgepeth had every right to express herself freely and openly on her personal Facebook page, outside of school, about matters of undeniable public concern.”
“Firing her for opposing lawlessness, speaking out about gun rights, praising [B]lack conservatives, and criticizing Democrats and tenets of Critical Racial Theory violated the First Amendment, and the school district and district officials who did so will be held accountable,” he added in a written statement.
“Judicial Watch has filed a 1st Amendment lawsuit on behalf of an Illinois teacher who was fired after criticizing the rioting, looting & other violence that broke out in Chicago after the death of George Floyd last May,” Judicial Watch in Fox News. READ: https://t.co/fgu4tWplnV
— Judicial Watch ⚖️ (@JudicialWatch) July 22, 2021
“This is a free country”
Attorney Christine Svenson, who is assisting Judicial Watch in the case, expressed a similar sentiment.
“This is a free country — there’s this thing called the First Amendment,” Svenson said, according to Fox News.
“A person has the right to speak about matters of public concern on their personal Facebook post, and that has absolutely nothing to do with his or her job,” Svenson added. “This woman was nowhere near her job, the school year had ended, and she gets terminated for voicing her opinions about the world,” the lawyer lamented.
“People should really be afraid and people should be willing to stand up, because if they’re not willing to do that again, we’re headed to be — I mean, we’re going to be North Korea, we’re going to be China, we’re going to be Venezuela very quickly,” she concluded.