We are the most effective way to get your press release into the hands of reporters and news producers. Check out our client list.

Bus Driver Fired for Contesting School Libraries Sexual Material

Pacific Justice Institute
May 5, 2023

RIGGINS, Idaho, May 5, 2023 /Christian Newswire/ -- The question of whether an Idaho public school can legally terminate an employee for expressing his opinion on matters of public concern is being put to the test in Idaho's U.S. District Court: Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) now represents Keith Markley, a school bus driver fired by the Salmon River Joint School District of Riggins, Idaho after he wrote a letter to a local newspaper regarding "sexually explicit and/or otherwise harmful materials available to minors in the school library." Objectionable material in school libraries has been an issue of significant concern across the nation in recent years, with parents, employees, communities, and legislatures debating how best to safeguard children.

After being hired by the district last year, Mr. Markley met with school superintendent Trisha Simonson and a member of the school board to express his concerns and suggest changes to the district's library materials policy. He then wrote a letter to the editor of the Idaho County Free Press in order to raise awareness of the issue. He was subsequently fired.

Mr. Markley names both the school district and Ms. Simonson in his lawsuit, which is being filed in defense of his First Amendment rights. According to PJI attorney Katherine Hartley, "For decades, writing letters to the editor of a newspaper has been deemed one of our fundamental rights to engage our fellow citizens.  In fact, just such a scenario is how the Supreme Court first established speech rights for teachers and all public employees more than 50 years ago. This school district's rejection of such well-established law is alarming and must be corrected in federal court."

PJI president Brad Dacus said, "Mr. Markley should not have been terminated over expressing his opinions on matters of great public concern. No one, including this bus driver, should lose their job for their love and compassion for children being potentially harmed by objectionable materials found in public school libraries."

The lawsuit notes that Mr. Markley's letter to the editor "contained no statements that were knowingly false or reckless." Markley is seeking compensatory damages, including actual, consequential, and incidental financial losses.

SOURCE Pacific Justice Institute

CONTACT: Brad Dacus, 916-616-4126

Related Links