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Former Mass. high school head football coach says his firing was a violation of free speech

Joe Difazio | The Patriot Ledger | Feb 24, 2021


BOSTON (AP) — A former Massachusetts high school head football coach has filed a federal lawsuit against three school administrators claiming that his termination was a violation of his First Amendment rights after he expressed concerns about the suitability of “coursework on politics, race, gender equality, and diversity” for seventh graders.


Former head coach David Flynn is seeking damages after Dedham administrators decided not to reappoint him as head coach in January, the Patriot Ledger reported.


Administrators cited his “significant, repeatedly expressed philosophical differences” with the direction of the school district in the decision.


Administrators did not clarify what the differences were when asked by the publication and said that it was a personnel matter.


Sara Errickson, a spokesperson for Dedham Public Schools, said the district was aware of the lawsuit and had no comment Tuesday.


The lawsuit claims that Flynn was exercising his First Amendment right to raise concerns over the curriculum for his seventh-grade daughter.


One of Flynn’s concerns was that a teacher used a digital cartoon of herself wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt. He said the material was not being taught objectively.


Flynn and his wife met with Dedham Public School Superintendent Michael Welch before ultimately removing their children from the school district in October.


Flynn was vocal with this disappointment and shared his thoughts in an email to school committee members.


“I explained to him that if the teacher teaches the course objectively and removes the BLM logo from the class, people will soon get over the fact that the class was purposely created without notifying parents and without having a visible course curriculum, syllabus and learning objective,” Flynn wrote, referring to the superintendent. “Apparently, it does not mean much to him that the Dedham public school system is losing two wonderful students.”