capecodonline.com – A former substitute teacher at the Oak Ridge School in Sandwich reached a settlement with the town last week over his claims he was wrongly fired last winter for posting a video mocking religion on his personal website.
In December, Jonathan Hurley, 32, was fired three weeks into an open-ended substitute position after school officials learned of a music video for a song Hurley co-wrote called “That Doesn’t Make Sense,” which was posted on Hurley’s personal website.
Though the video mocks various religious beliefs, Hurley, a professional musician, describes it as “lighthearted.” It is still posted on his website, www.jonathanhurleymusic.com.
“I was surprised by the reaction,” Hurley said Tuesday.
In addition to being fired, Hurley also was “blacklisted” from the Sandwich Public Schools, he said. He was no longer eligible for other substitute positions, including a long-term position he had wanted.
“I didn’t know what to do, but I thought that my rights had been violated,” said Hurley, who moved from Los Angeles to Buzzards Bay last year to become a teacher.
In January, Hurley contacted the ACLU of Massachusetts, which reviewed his case and then approached the town with concerns over Hurley’s termination, said Sarah Wunsch, an ACLU of Massachusetts staff attorney. The ACLU of Massachusetts worked with the law firm of Fish & Richardson on the case.
Adam Kessel, an attorney with Fish & Richardson, which handled the case pro bono, said this was “a case of someone being disciplined for exercising their freedom of speech rights.”
Referring to the music video, Wunsch said she could see how “somebody might find it offensive,” but “offensiveness is not the First Amendment standard.”
Holy crap, what year is it? My question here is this, it takes more than one person to fire and blacklist a teacher right? So how is it possible that nobody in this chain of events questioned this decision? You’d think at least one person in the Sandwich School system would have been like… “Ummm, has anyone considered that document written a while ago? What’s it called? Oh yeah… THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES”.
I’m pretty sure you could tell this story to a 2nd grader and they would be like, “Wait, what about freedom of religion? Oh, and freedom of speech? I’m pretty sure he can’t be fired for this”. I don’t know about you but I’m a little nervous that the people in charge of educating our children don’t know about the basic fundamentals that this country was built on.
Hey Sandwich, read a history book before you fire someone will ya?
P.S. Here’s the offensive video:
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