Teacher of the Year Suspended for Facebook Comment Against Same-Sex Marriage

Liberty Alerts, Liberty Counsel

Mount Dora, FL – Jerry Buell, last year’s “Teacher of the Year” at Mount Dora High School, has been suspended from the classroom for a comment he made on his own personal Facebook page, expressing his disapproval of legalized same-s*x marriage in New York. Buell commented that homosexuality is a sin and that seeing two “grooms” kissing on a news story revolted him. School officials received a complaint about Buell’s comment on Tuesday from a 2002 Mount Dora graduate, who was never even in Mr. Buell’s class. The Lake County School District responded by taking away his teaching privileges and reassigning him to administrative duties. Liberty Counsel is representing Buell and demanding that he be immediately reinstated with an apology for violating his First Amendment rights.

Buell has been a teacher for more than 22 years, served as the Social Studies Department Chair at Mount Dora High School, and taught American history and government. Buell has always been open to students, including those who identify as homosexual, about his conservative principles but has never forced his beliefs on anyone. Furthermore, Buell’s students understand he has an open line of communication, which has built a high level of trust in his classes.

The school district’s response to Buell’s comments is unconstitutional, violating his right to free speech. Groups who are pushing “same-s*x marriage” and “marriage equality” are claiming any speech that is contrary to their viewpoint is considered “hate speech” and should be censored.

Harry Mihet, Senior Litigation Counsel for Liberty Counsel, commented: “Public school teachers are not constitutional orphans. They, like all Americans, enjoy the freedom to engage in discourse about matters of public concern. Mr. Buell is being investigated and punished for communicating his mainstream objection to homosexual marriage, an objection shared by a large majority of his fellow Floridians who have outlawed homosexual marriage through a constitutional amendment. If the First Amendment does not protect Mr. Buell’s right to voice his personal opinion, on his personal time, from his personal computer, on his personal Facebook page, then the First Amendment means nothing.”

Next Thursday, August 25th, Liberty Counsel will host the Florida Awake! at the First Baptist Church of Leesburg, where Buell resides. This event will gather support from individuals in Florida to take a stand for their constitutional rights. The rally seeks to motivate, educate, and equip the public to restore our nation’s values, as our founders originally intended.

Used with permission of Liberty Counsel.