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Education

Fired West Virginia Teacher Loses Suit Over Bigoted Posts

Students walk the halls in Kutztown Area High School.
High school students walk the halls between classes.

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a high school teacher in West Virginia who was fired in 2017 for a series of social media posts that ridiculed Black people, Muslims and former President Barack Obama.

U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers ruled that the Cabell County school system did not violate the woman's First Amendment rights, The Herald-Dispatch reported.

Former Huntington High School teacher Mary Durstein argued that a law requiring teachers to have a professional relationship with students even outside the classroom and allowing the superintendent to revoke or suspend a teaching certificate for "immorality" was an overly broad and unconstitutional restriction of her free speech rights.

The judge ruled Monday that Durstein failed to show that the law targets freedom of expression.

"We welcome this ruling as a reaffirmation that those who apparently hold biased views of others —while having the right to express even those bigoted views — should not be teaching our nation's children," Council on American-Islamic Relations spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said Tuesday.


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