ACLU of Ohio defends Sylvania substitute teacher over Facebook post

ACLU of Ohio defends Sylvania substitute teacher over Facebook post

SYLVANIA, OH (WTOL) - The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio says the firing of a substitute teacher in Sylvania was unconstitutional.

According to the ACLU, Derek Ide, a substitute teacher, was recently fired for a status be posted on his personal Facebook page in October 2015. The post expressed anger over the assault of a black high school student by a security officer in South Carolina.

On Wednesday, the ACLU sent a letter to Sylvania Schools saying the comments are protected free speech.

"The courts are very clear on this," said Christine Link, executive director of the ACLU of Ohio. "Speech made by public school teachers that has no impact on their job performance is constitutionally protected free speech. When public schools retaliate against employees for expressing their views, they send the wrong message to students and communities."

Ide was shocked to hear that he would not be renewed as a substitute.

"I am deeply disappointed that Sylvania, the very school district that I attended as a child, would choose to fire me simply for speaking about current events on my personal Facebook page," said Mr. Ide. "Don't we want our public school teachers speaking out against racism and state-sanctioned violence?"

Sylvania schools responded to the letter, with a statement saying:

"On September 7, 2016, Sylvania Schools received a demand letter from the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Derek Ide. Mr. Ide was an occasional substitute teacher for Sylvania Schools from 2011-2012 through the 2015-16 school year. Our decision to no longer use him as a substitute teacher is based on his past performance. We make all decisions based on what is best for our students."

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