JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Attorneys with the Southern Poverty Law Center and a private law firm filed a civil case on Friday against Duval County Public Schools on behalf of Robert E. Lee High School teacher Amy Donofrio, claiming the district retaliated against their client and violated her right to free speech.
The lawsuit also targets former principal supervisor Scott Schneider.
Amy Donofrio, who co-founded The EVAC Movement, was recently reassigned to paid, non-teaching duties while the district investigates what it described as “several matters” related to allegations of misconduct.
DOCUMENT: Read the full lawsuit
The reassignment came one day after Lee High School administrators removed a Black Lives Matter flag from Donofrio’s classroom doorway when she refused to remove it on their instructions. According to DCPS, the flag was a breach of district policy, which bans teachers from advocating for social causes.
“I hope this case will set a needed precedent,” Donofrio said via a press release. “Teachers should not be punished for supporting their students’ humanity. Our students matter, and as educators, we will no longer tolerate them being systemically damaged, silenced and failed.”
The lawsuit claims there was an escalating tension between Schneider and Donofrio about The EVAC Movement.
The lawsuit seeks reinstatement of Donofrio to her teaching position and a court order banning school policies that prevent educators from supporting Black Lives Matter and advocating for anti-racist curricula and policies.
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