When a science teacher named Eric Dodge decided to wear a “Make America Great Again” hat to a teacher training, he probably didn’t expect to wind up defending his constitutional rights years later before a federal appeals court. But that’s what happened — and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals just vindicated his free speech rights.
Here’s the backstory . Dodge was a longtime teacher in Washington state. In advance of the 2019-2020 school year, he was required to attend a teachers’ training focused on diversity and inclusion. He decided to bring with him a red MAGA hat, wore it outside, and then displayed it with his personal items during the training.
Garrett sued and argued that this all violated his First Amendment rights. Last month, the court agreed.
“While some of the training attendees may have been outraged or offended by plaintiff’s political expression, no evidence of actual or tangible disruption to school operations had been presented,” Judge Danielle J. Forrest wrote. Read more…