A part-time drama coach was removed from her position although she was never formally reprimanded after she led students in a production of “Legally Blonde: The Musical,” prompting parental complaints about the content of the show. This wrongful termination occurred after the performance had been approved by two different principals and without warning to the drama coach.
Students rallied to support the discharged teacher, urging the district to reconsider their actions. The director had a strong history of leading great musicals with record-breaking attendance. After initial parent complaints about some of the show’s content, the director changed a few lines to accommodate these sensitivities. However, three weeks later, she was told to resign, or she would be fired.
The trend toward policing of school programs and presentations may result in conflict between parents’ wishes and the rights of students and teachers to engage in artistic expression. When this happens, it is better if all parties can talk the problem out and come to an agreement. However, when teachers are fired due to anonymous complaints about moral issues, they never have a chance to defend themselves. This can lead to wrongful termination cases in which school systems are sued, ultimately costing everyone money.
A teacher or other worker who has been wrongfully terminated without a chance to address the issues surrounding the firing may have a case against the employer. An employment attorney may be able to discuss the case with the worker and give advice about employee rights and how to recover damages.
Source: City Beat, “Legally banned: The secret complaints and controversial characters behind the firing of Loveland High School’s drama instructor,” Danny Cross, March 6, 2013