A federal civil rights case brought on behalf of a Massachusetts father dismissed from his job as high school football coach after raising questions about Black Lives Matter/Critical Race Theory being taught in his daughter’s class will be heard in federal court early next week.
According to Judicial Watch, the federal court hearing will be held at 3:15 pm ET on Monday, April 26, and the public can “attend” the virtual conference by registering at https://forms.mad.uscourts.gov/courtlist.html.
The case was brought on behalf of David Flynn, the father of two Dedham Public School students.
The plaintiff has bought the action against defendants Michael Welch, Jim Forrest, and Stephen Traister, three members of Dedham School Committee, for violating his First Amendment rights, and he is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, and all other appropriate relief (Flynn v. Forrest et al. (No. 21-cv-10256).
After exercising his right as a citizen to express concerns about his daughter’s seventh-grade history class curriculum being revised to include skewed coursework on politics, race, gender equality, and diversity, Flynn was fired from his job as a football coach.
The lawsuit says that in September 2020, Flynn’s daughter’s class, titled “World Geography and Ancient History I,” was taught about race, gender, stereotypes, prejudices, bigotry, and politics.
According to the lawsuit, the daughter was asked to identify different “risk factors” and “mitigating factors” that two individuals—one classified as “white” and the other as “black”—could use to judge each other on a city street in one of her assignments. Skin color, gender, age, physical appearance, and dress were among the various factors. Among the “risk factors” purportedly measured by the individual classified as “white” were “black,” “aggressive body language,” and “wrong neighborhood.” The individual described as “black” allegedly evaluated “risk factors” such as “white” and “police officer.”
Concerned about the sudden shift in curriculum, Flynn and his wife called the school’s history teacher and principal and Superintendent Michael Welch, and three Dedham School Committee members. The Flynns requested assistance in addressing the curriculum problems on many occasions. The Flynns eventually pulled their children out of school in October 2020.
The Flynns’ list of issues included the following:
- Dedham Public Schools updated the seventh-grade history program without informing parents or including a course outline and syllabus for them to study.
- The updated seventh-grade history curriculum, which included topics such as politics, race, gender equality, and diversity that were inappropriate for children aged twelve and thirteen;
- The seventh-grade history teacher does not critically teach subjects such as politics, race, gender equality, and diversity;
- The seventh-grade history teacher, who dressed up as a cartoon character in a t-shirt promoting a divisive political movement; and
- According to the seventh-grade history teacher’s materials, both police officers are threats to all black people, and all black males are risks to white people.
Flynn, who had been the head football coach at Dedham High School (DHS) since 2011, was summoned to a meeting with Welch, the DHS principal, and the athletic director, in January 2021. Welch gave Flynn one of the emails he had sent to the Dedham School Committee members at the meeting and informed him that one of the committee members had asked, “What are we going to do about this?”
Flynn was informed at the end of the meeting that the football program would be “going in a different direction.”
According to the superintendent, high school principal, and athletic director, Flynn was fired as head football coach minutes later, who said he was fired because he “expressed significant philosophical differences with the direction, goals, and values of the school district.”