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Former HS Coach Sues School for Retaliation

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A former Massachusetts head football coach and special education instructor is suing his former employer on grounds the school did not reappoint him because he spoke out on issues as a parent.

David Flynn is seeking damages after Dedham High School administrators decided not to reappoint him as head football coach, citing "significant, repeatedly expressed philosophical differences with the direction, goals and values of the school district." 

Flynn was head football coach at Dedham for over 10 years. The decision not to appoint him arose during a contentious meeting between Flynn and school officials.

According to The Patriot Ledger, Flynn was fired after he raised concerns about curriculum, specifically pushing back against classroom content for his seventh-grade daughter. Flynn argues that he was speaking as a parent and that by choosing not to reappoint him, the school was retaliating and infringing on his freedom of speech. 

Flynn objected to a teacher using a digital cartoon of herself wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt, and the lawsuit argues that "coursework on politics, race, gender equality, and diversity (was) not suitable for," for seventh graders nor was it being taught objectively. 

Flynn emailed several school committee members about his disappointment with the schools, which was also shared with other parents. 

"The superintendent has had the opportunity to make sure the Dedham teachers conduct themselves as professionals and to teach the courses objectively and without biased opinions. He chose not to," Flynn said in the email. "I explained to him that if the teacher teaches the course objectively and removes the BLM logo from the class, people will soon get over the fact that the class was purposely created without notifying parents and without having a visible course curriculum, syllabus and learning objective. Apparently, it does not mean much to him that the Dedham public school system is losing two wonderful students."

The emails were brought up at a meeting in January but by then Flynn had removed his daughters from the district, and he thought the matter had been resolved.

"Just because you're a public official doesn't mean you lose your First Amendment rights," said Flynn's lawyer Michael Bekesha in a phone interview on Tuesday. "He spoke out as a concerned parent and resident of Dedham, not as a coach."

The administrators named in the lawsuit are Dedham Public School Superintendent Michael Welch, Dedham High School Principal Jim Forrest and Dedham High School Athletic Director Steve Traister.  

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