Public schools are no place for questions, concerned parent learns

Public schools are no place for questions, concerned parent learns

Public schools are no place for questions, concerned parent learns

A substitute teacher in Georgia is taking her former employer to court in a case to which one attorney says everyone should pay attention.

Lindsey Barr says she was fired from her job as a substitute teacher at Bryan County Schools for expressing concerns over drawings in a picture book that was being presented to students, including her own young children, at McAllister Elementary School during a library read-aloud program.

Barr says the book, "All Are Welcome," contains several illustrations of same-sex couples parenting and expecting children.

"She went to the principal to express her concerns for her own kids to be excused from the reading," reports attorney Philip A. Sechler of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the law firm representing Barr. "The next day, she found out that she was locked out of where she used to pick up substitute assignments, and she eventually got fired for raising those concerns."

Legal action was not the first step. ADF initially asked the school to reinstate Barr, pointing out that they "cannot punish her or fire her for expressing her concern about a matter of public importance."

"They didn't respond to our letter, so we filed a suit asking the court to reinstate her on a preliminary basis pending outcome of the lawsuit," Sechler details.

Sechler, Phil (ADF) Sechler

He says Barr's case against officials at McAllister Elementary School and Bryan County Schools affects everyone, regardless of where they live and regardless of whether they have children in school.

"Public schools can't retaliate against parents for voicing their concerns about what is being taught to their children, and that is true even if the parents happen to be employed by the public schools," the attorney asserts.

He goes on to note that Georgia just recently passed the Parents' Bill of Rights, which gives parents in the state the right to review what is being taught in the schools and the right to express concerns about it.

"That's exactly what Lindsey Barr did, but when she did, she got fired," Sechler summarizes.

Barr v. Tucker is filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia Savannah Division.