A federal judge on Thursday tossed out a civil suit filed by a White Chicago public school teacher who claims he should not have been disciplined for using the n-word in class during a “teachable moment” in front of mostly Black sixth-graders, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
U.S. District Judge Manish Shah upheld the board’s discipline of Lincoln Brown, 48, rebuffing the argument that his constitutional rights were violated when he was suspended without pay from Murray Language Academy for five days in 2011 following the incident, writes the news outlet.
“Public employers can regulate the speech of their employees without regard to First Amendment limits when the speech at issue is uttered in the course of the employee’s duties,” Shah wrote in a 15-page opinion. “There is now no dispute that teachers may not use racial, cultural and ethnic epithets in the classroom; this policy was in place before Brown’s conduct in this case; and Brown knew it.”…
Brown sued his principal, the Board of Education and the city of Chicago, alleging that his First and Fifth Amendment rights were violated for attempting “to teach his class . . . an important lesson in vocabulary, civility and race relations.”
The Sun-Times could not reach Brown for comment, but his attorney, William Spielberger, says his client intends to appeal the decision.