Parent Loses Job After Pushing for In-Person Learning, Lawsuit Claims

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A parent whose child attends Rochester Community Schools sued the district after she was fired for talking about the school’s return to the curriculum.

Rochester Community Schools recently came under fire in a lawsuit over allegations that the president of the school board called a parent’s employer. The lawsuit was filed by Elena Dinverno in Detroit District Court against Oakland County, Chief Executive Officer Kristin Bull and Superintendent Robert Shaner, arguing that they had “unlawfully restricted their freedom of speech.”

Dinverno has two children in the school district, according to the lawsuit. At the beginning of the school year, the students did a correspondence school. During the year Dinverno expressed its opposition to some of the decisions taken by the Board of Directors. Indeed, Dinverno describes herself as “a vocal and effective advocate of her position, often questioning and criticizing the decisions of the board through posts and comments on two Facebook groups:” RCS parents for personal education “and” Conservative parents for Rochester “. ‘”

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According to the lawsuit, Dinverno appealed to one of the Facebook groups last fall asking for video testimonials, “from parents and students expressing the difficulties they have experienced without the availability of a personal school”. In response, a board member allegedly “contacted her employer, Blakes Hard Cider Co. in Armada, where she had been the marketing director since 2019, and falsely claimed that Dinverno was part of a group that made threats against the school district.” She later discovered that the board member was Bull, who happened to be the “Director of Content at Crain’s Detroit Business,” and alleged that Bull threatened to give “40 under 40 recognition” to company president Andrew Blake in response to Dinverno’s alleged behavior revoked on social media in connection with the reopening of the school. “

Finally, she was invited to a meeting with her company’s HR manager where she was asked to explain her involvement in the Facebook groups. One HR manager even told her to “see what she said on the online forums”. On November 6, she wrote “a letter to her employer’s leadership explaining the extent of her participation in the Facebook groups.” In the letter, she said that she “has never made threats and that her participation is not about passionate.” and adequate advocacy “.

The following month, she posted a comment to the school board through the district’s online feedback portal stating, “Each parent has the right to express their sadness, frustration and anger as a right to freedom of expression … by reporting parents who You are risking your livelihood. Your employment. That’s all you have right now. “

She was released from her position shortly afterwards. Dinverno alleges in its lawsuit that “Board members contacted other parents’ employers through their online comments”.

To add insult to injury, Dinverno received a cease and desist letter from the district saying the comments she made to the board and her Facebook groups were “false and harmful to the board, and if they don’t, threaten further harm Getting corrected”.

Deborah Gordon is representing Dinverno. She said “the fact that one parent received such a letter was shocking,” adding:

“This is a government agency for which you are entitled to your initial adjustment rights … unless someone is using threatening language. But about giving an opinion? There is no business monitoring their speech. “

She added that Dinverno had “practiced constitutionally protected freedom of speech” and that the defendants “unlawfully interfered with those rights by contacting their employer and threatening him with adverse professional consequences”.

As a result, the lawsuit seeks damages and an injunction against the district “to prohibit further wrongdoing or retaliation against Dinverno”.

Swell:

The Rochester School parents are suing the county fired them for speaking

Parents say she was fired for speaking against Rochester schools