Vermont Goes "Tone Deaf" On Free Speech: Principal Fired Over "All Lives Matter" Statement
Added 10-25-20 07:55:02am EST - “We previously discussed the disturbing case of Vermont Principal Tiffany Riley who was suspended after she wrote on Facebook that she does not agree with the Black Lives Matter movement. Shortly af?” - Jonathanturley.org
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We previously discussed the disturbing case of Vermont Principal Tiffany Riley who was suspended after she wrote on Facebook that she does not agree with the Black Lives Matter movement. Shortly after that posting, Mount Ascutney School Board held an emergency meeting to declare that it is “uniformly appalled” and that Riley was “tone deaf” for making such a statement. In what should now be a major free speech case, the Board unanimously voted to fire Riley, citing her “denigrating, derogatory, or contrary to the movement for social equity for African Americans, including the Black Lives Matter movement.”
The Board’s 50-page decision is a virtual invitation for a lawsuit. It is clear that Riley is being punished for holding an opposing view of BLM. While struggling to find objective grounds for termination like a failure “to see both sides of an issue” or being “stubborn when facing criticism,” it is abundantly clear that Riley is being fired for her statement on BLM. Indeed, those objections would normally warrant a sit down with a superintendent, not a termination. Instead, the report highlights the statement as “’diametrically contrary’ to her job of promoting racial equity.”
I firmly believe that Black Lives Matter, but I DO NOT agree with the coercive measures taken to get to this point across; some of which are falsified in an attempt to prove a point. While I want to get behind BLM, I do not think people should be made to feel they have to choose black race over human race. While I understand the urgency to feel compelled to advocate for black lives, what about our fellow law enforcement? What about all others who advocate for and demand equity for all? Just because I don’t walk around with a BLM sign should not mean I am a racist.
The Board added that she was “upset” in speaking with Superintendent David Baker despite the fact that Baker was widely denounced for his comments in the controversy. The Report states that Baker had told Riley that her comments were “inflammatory, “incendiary,” and “racist” and then expresses shock that she took offense. She is quoted as saying “I am a little offended that you, my leader who has known me for seven years, would even sit here and suggest that there is some racist in me. I am a little offended by that.”
The most interesting part of the Report (which refers to Riley as “Employee”) is the discussion of the events leading up to the Facebook posting. It concerned the simple painting of an American flag at the school before graduation, a symbol declaring insulting or disturbing by Iyanna Williams, a Windsor School graduate.
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