A Massachusetts teacher who had been terminated from Hanover High School for posting a number of videos to TikTok opposing critical race theory has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against her former employers, claiming they had violated her First Amendment rights.
Kari MacRae, represented by nonprofit legal organization Judicial Watch, sued Hanover Public Schools superintendent Matthew Ferron and Hanover High School principal Matthew Mattos for firing her over two TikTok videos she posted as part of a campaign to be on the Bourne School Committee that criticized critical race theory, the controversial doctrine that teaches students that white people are oppressors and people of color are oppressed.
She had worked as a math and business teacher at Hanover High School for a month before she was fired.
The court filing notes that MacRae was hired on Aug. 31 and terminated on Sept. 29. However, the TikTok videos Hanover High School cited as the basis for her firing were posted months before she was hired as part of her committee campaign.
"So pretty much the reason I ran for school board and the reason I’m taking on this responsibility is to ensure that students, at least in our town, are not being taught critical race theory," MacRae said in a video posted last spring, according to The Boston Globe. "That they’re not being taught that the country was built on racism. So they’re not being taught that they can choose whether or not they want to be a girl or a boy."
"It’s one thing to include, and it’s one thing to be inclusive. And it’s one thing to educate everybody about everything. It’s completely another thing to push your agenda," she continued in the video.
Mattos told MacRae that "continuing your employment in light of your social media posts would have a significant impact on student learning at HHS."
The lawsuit, which asks for punitive damages but does not indicate how much, asserts that Mattos and Ferron "deprived" MacRae of "her rights under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution" by terminating her employment.
"[MacRae's] interest in speaking out as a citizen and candidate about matters of public concern outweighs any interest [Mattos and Ferron] may have had in promoting the efficiency of the educational and other services Hanover Public Schools provides," the lawsuit reads.
The filing also alleges that MacRae "suffered loss of earning, emotional distress, loss of reputation, and harassment as a direct and proximate result of" the "violation of her constitutional rights."