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Teacher Sues District for Lost Wages and Deprivation of Civil Rights After Being Berated By Principal Over MAGA Hat

He says he faced severe harassment and bias from principal Caroline Garrett, district human resources manager Janae Gomes, and his coworkers.

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A public school teacher is suing his Washington school district claiming that he was berated by the principal for wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat — violating his constitutional right to freedom of speech.

The teacher, Eric Dodge, worked in the district for 17 years until a recent leave because he had a stroke.

When Dodge was returning to teach science during the 2019-2020 school year at Wy’east Middle School, he says that he faced severe harassment and bias from principal Caroline Garrett, district human resources manager Janae Gomes, and his coworkers due to his political beliefs.

According to the complaint, Dodge suffered “emotional devastation” and a “recurrence of debilitating stroke symptoms” after being “verbally attacked and defamed by his new principal for the political opinions he held as a private citizen — specifically, statements in support of President Trump.”

The recurrence of his stroke symptoms left him unable to return to work.

“As a public employer, the school district must respect its employees’ constitutional rights, and it must create a safe and non-partisan environment that is open to everyone,’’ read a statement released Wednesday by Michael Estok, an attorney representing Dodge. “Relatedly, as the Supreme Court of the United States has recognized, public employees ‘do not renounce their citizenship when they accept employment’ with a public entity; rather, they continue to enjoy the same rights — including under the First Amendment — that form the bedrock of civil society.”

“Here, even though Mr. Dodge was a respected and long-standing teacher in Evergreen’s schools, upon just beginning his new assignment at Wy’east Middle School, he was ridiculed and attacked — and was even threatened with disciplinary action — by his new principal simply because he had previously expressed support for President Trump,’’ Estok’s release continued.

Prior to the beginning of the new academic year, Dodge had attended two days of staff training sessions at the school. The first day was a training on “racial equity” and “implicit bias.” He says that he had the hat with him, as some of the training was outside, but did not wear it in the school building.

A district investigation found that he did nothing wrong by having the hat with him.

Still, other teachers were infuriated that someone would dare to support the president of this nation on a school campus.

“On Aug. 22, Dodge arrived for racial equity training at the school, and had put on the “Make America Great Again” hat on his way into the building. In his lawsuit, Dodge said he had previously purchased the hat as a “conversation-starter, with the idea of explaining that ordinary and normal people support Trump, despite some of Trump’s flaws,” and to protect his head from sun damage. Dodge said he removed the hat once he entered the building,” the Columbian reports.

Several of the teachers complained to the training seminar instructor and administrators about the hat. A teacher named Amy Matsumoto, told investigators she was “shocked” that he would wear the hat to that seminar specifically and said that their Latino and Mexican students may be “uncomfortable” if he were to wear the hat to class.

After the training ended, Principal Garrett confronted him about “the impact he was having on the learning environment of his colleagues,” some of whom felt “worried, upset, threatened and intimidated,” according to the investigation.

She claims that she told him to “use good judgement” and that the confrontation ended there.

The next day, Dodge left his hat in his car, but went and got it for an outdoor training to protect his head from the sun. The principal then received a text from a “concerned” teacher and decided to approach him about it once again.

Garrett claimed that she simply explained that his coworkers were concerned, Dodge recalled the incident drastically differently.

According to the Columbian report, the lawsuit alleges that Garrett became “aggressive and hostile,” demanding to know “what is the f—ing deal with you and your hat?” Dodge also claims Garrett berated him, calling him a “racist,” “bigot,” “homophobe,” “liar” and “hateful person.”

Dodge filed a complaint with human resources, but claims that they too were biased and unfair with him. He claims that the district tried to get him to withdraw his complaint, but he refused.

Eventually it escalated to a private meeting of the school board and ten days later Garrett resigned after ten years on the job. She received all her accrued vacation and sick leave and a severance equal to her salary from April 2 through June — roughly $150,170.

Estok’s statement said that “this attack was particularly devastating because Mr. Dodge had just returned to working after an absence to rehabilitate from a stroke. The hostile environment created by the principal caused his previously-resolved stroke symptoms to immediately return. These symptoms — including a verbal stutter and a loss in coordination — have now made Mr. Dodge unable to teach or continue his livelihood. Even worse, when Mr. Dodge filed an internal complaint, the principal — who had a well-established practice of pushing her own political ideology at the school and creating a double standard with her staff based on their political beliefs — worked in concert with the district’s HR director to minimize and distort what had happened, in an effort to protect the principal’s position and to further harm Mr. Dodge.’’

Dodge was initially placed on administrative leave by the district, but later transferred to an unpaid leave of absence. He has already used all of his sick leave earlier in the year.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Filomena Poli Aleman

    April 29, 2020 at 12:48 pm

    This is par for the course. As a teacher of 34 years I believe this is the treatment the teacher received from the school district. They can be bullies ironically. Also as a supporter of President Trump, when you wear a MAGA hat you become a target. Therefore your civil rights are diminished. For the sake of the teacher’s health and we’ll being he was smart to get away from all the negativity, especially from his immediate supervisor and the HR department. I hope he has retained a good lawyer and he gets every penny he deserves.

  2. Melvin

    April 29, 2020 at 7:13 pm

    No safe place for the red cap man. The power of a red cap to trigger an entire education staff of lefties or were they harboring illegals?

  3. Stacey

    April 29, 2020 at 7:35 pm

    I hope he sues the district, former principal, HR staff, including OTHER TEACHING STAFF for their verbal attacks FOR EVERYTHING THEY OWN. This folks is why homeschooling is growing….exponentially. Parents are sick and tired of the propaganda and indoctrination that is now occurring in our children’s schools. My 11 yr old son’s PE teacher dared to ridicule him last year for his political beliefs and yes, I happily put him back in his place. Teach our children math, English, reading and science….keep your vile and intolerant beliefs OUT OF THE CLASSROOM or you will find yourself out of a job and your wallets a lot less heavy.

  4. David

    April 29, 2020 at 11:15 pm

    These are the same people who are teaching our children. Makes you stop and think about who we are putting in charge of our children. These are left wing wakos who need to find a nother line of work.

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Woman Paints Over Black Lives Matter Mural in NYC, Shouts ‘Bill de Blasio Doesn’t Care About Black People!’

De Blasio is planning to paint four more of the ridiculous murals throughout the city.

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The state-sanctioned Black Lives Matter mural outside Trump Tower in New York City has been vandalized by a protester for the third time since it was painted.

A black woman covered multiple letters of the bright yellow eyesore with multiple gallons of black paint while shouting “Refund the Police” and “Bill de Blasio doesn’t care about black people!”

The woman urged people to find Jesus while she worked, attempting to cover as much as she could before being detained and arrested.

The mural was also vandalized the previous day by four protesters who oppose the Marxist political message painted in the street by the mayor. The brave activists shouted “Blue Lives Matter” and “All Lives Matter” as they painted over the city-approved vandalism.

Onlookers shouted at them hysterically as they did it.

NBC New York reports “the alleged vandals threw the paint in what appeared to be a coordinated effort involving about 10 people around 4 p.m. Friday. There were plans going around on social media with a group of people discussing doing the stunt.”

On Monday, the mural was splattered with red paint.

Unlike the rioters and looters that took over his city recently, he has made it a priority to arrest those who dare to vandalize it. In fact, Mayor de Blasio has seemingly been more concerned with protecting the tacky painting than about the rising crime in the city since he tied the hands of his police force.

De Blasio is planning to paint four more of the ridiculous murals throughout the city.

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War on Christianity: Virgin Mary Statue Honoring WWII Servicemen Lit on Fire in Massachusetts

Imagine if this was happening to any other religion.

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Following three churches being lit ablaze across the US over the weekend, a statue of the Virgin Mary honoring fallen WWII soldiers has been lit on fire in Massachusetts.

The statue at St. Peter Parish in Dorchester was found charred around 10 p.m. Saturday.

“Fire investigators say it appears someone set fire to plastic flowers that were in the hands of the statue, which caused the face and upper body of the statue to be burned,” NBC Boston reports. “The charred statue startled parishioners on Sunday, with one man saying he was ‘very disturbed’ by the incident.”

“This is ridiculous,” a woman added. “This needs to stop.”

St. Peter Parish’s Pastor Currie said he would like to help the person who did this and believes that they are a “troubled soul.”

“This is obviously someone disturbed, someone who has a lot of trouble, a troubled soul,” he said. “But I know our Lady in Heaven is looking down on the soul, or whoever it might’ve been, and saying, ‘I love you! If you need help, come get help. We’re here for you.'”

The Boston Police are asking anyone with information on the incident to contact them at 617-343-4335.

Over the weekend, three churches were burned across the nation.

A fire destroyed Faith Tabernacle Pentecostal Church in Elkmont, Alabama Friday night.

On Saturday a man drove into a church in Ocala, Florida, before lighting it on fire.

Next, a fire destroyed the roof of 249-Year-Old San Gabriel Mission Church in California.

Had these been places of worship for any other religion, it would have been leading the news cycle for at least a week.

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Communist Hammer and Sickle Painted on North Carolina WWII Memorial

The names on the memorial “are veterans and deserve the honor, respect, and dignity.”

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The Communist hammer and sickle symbol was spray painted on a North Carolina World War II Memorial over the weekend.

The memorial in the Evergreen Cemetery in Charlotte honors over 500 people from the county who died in the war.

The vandals also wrote “Glory to the day of heroism June 19, 1986,” a likely reference to the violent Communist Party of Peru.

“On June 18, 1986, the Shining Path began to protest the Peruvian government’s use of torture on its members and their movement to different prisons,” the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported when another statue was vandalized with the same message in May. “Although the Peruvian government at first tried to negotiate with the Shining Path, the members refused, he said, and the government sent troops into the prisons the next day — bombing two facilities and executing inmates who were in the Shining Path.”

Over 200 people were killed.

“That day immediately began to be called ‘The Day of Heroism.’”

Fox News reports that a portion of the WWII monument that read, “Dedicated to the memory of the Mecklenburg heroes of World War II who made the supreme sacrifice that you might live in liberty, freedom and peace,” was also covered in yellow paint.

Air Force veteran Wayne White gathered friends to help clean the memorial after seeing that it was defaced on social media. He told Fox 17 that the names on the memorial “are veterans and deserve the honor, respect, and dignity.”

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