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Cleveland-Marshall Assistant Professor Joseph Mead recently undertook pro bono representation of a former public school teacher who claims he was removed from his position because of a complaint from a local dairy farmer regarding the school teacher’s vegan advocacy on Facebook. Mead is handling this case in cooperation with the ACLU of Ohio.
In a formal letter to the school district, Mead explained that the district’s action violates the guarantee to freedom of speech contained in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The letter demanded that the teacher be immediately reinstated, arguing that “Urging people to drink soy milk on Facebook is not a fireable offense” and “forcing those who teach future citizens to relinquish their citizenship rights has no support in law or policy.”
“The Constitution is the underpinning of public administration and schools are the training grounds for future citizens,” Mead said in an interview with WKSU News. “As a result, they have a special duty to follow the Constitution.”
Mead, who holds a joint appointment with the Cleveland State University’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, previously litigated constitutional cases for the United States Department of Justice. His research focuses on the law and structure of nonprofit organizations and governmental institutions, with a particular focus on how nonprofit and government entities interact with each other and with the courts. Mead's scholarship has appeared or is forthcoming in the Administrative Law Review, Georgia Law Review, Journal of Empirical Legal Studies and the Michigan Law Review.
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