– Mt. Healthy City School District Board of Education (1977):
This case deals with “mixed motives”—when the government employee
claims that the employer fired him for speech and non-speech reasons.
P (a non-tenured public school teacher who was hired on a contractual basis and who was a president of the Teachers Association) was involved in several incidents. He argued with a teacher which culminated in the teacher slapping him, and insisted on punishment for that teacher (which resulted in both teachers’ suspension); he got an argument in the school cafeteria about the
small amount of food he was served; he called students “sons of bitches”; and he made obscene gestures at two girls who failed to obey him. The principal of the school at which P worked circulated a memo to various teachers relating to teacher dress and appearance. P conveyed the substance of the inside memo to a disc jockey on a radio station, who promptly announced the adoption of the dress code. D (the Board) refused to renew P’s teaching contract, claiming P’s overall “notable lack of tact in handling professional matters” and P’s improperly revealing the memo to the disc jockey. P sued D, claiming that not renewing his contract based on the radio station incident was a violation of his First Am. rights. Was not renewing P’s contract, based on speech and non-speech reasons, a violation of P’s First Am. rights?
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