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A former Massachusetts high school football coach is suing the Dedham Public School district after he was fired for privately disagreeing with the left-wing social justice curriculum being taught to his children.
David Flynn was the head football coach at Dedham High School and had two children enrolled at different schools in the district. His daughter was enrolled in Dedham Middle School and his son was enrolled at a Dedham Public School elementary. Flynn is suing the district’s superintendent, Michael Welch, the high school principal, Jim Fonest, and the high school’s athletic director, Stephen Traister, with the help of the legal network Judicial Watch.
According to a copy of the lawsuit, the daughter’s middle school instruction was conducted remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic. During her at-home instruction, Flynn and his wife realized that her world history class was forgetting to teach her something very important to the course — world history.
The proposed history class curriculum promised to be “the continuation of the Ancient History and World Geography curriculum … Regions and units taught in grade seven include – Review of Geography and Civilizations, Rome, Europe, Africa, Latin America, North America, and South America.” Instead, the instruction was based on issues of race, gender, stereotypes, discrimination, and politics, among other left-wing social issues.
One assignment asked 12- and 13-year-olds to identify “risk factors” and “mitigating factors” when walking down the street with a person of different skin color. White students were told to be fearful when they saw a black student with “aggressive body language” or in the “wrong neighborhood.” Black students were told to be fearful of white people in general, specifically police.
Flynn and his wife also noticed that the seventh-grade teacher had a cartoon character of herself with a Black Lives Matter T-shirt on.
The couple was concerned with the political nature of the instruction and contacted the teacher and the school principal to address their concerns. According to the lawsuit, Principal Fonest responded but did not “adequately” address their concerns.
On Oct. 14, Flynn emailed the superintendent with the concerns that the curriculum had been changed without notifying parents; that the coursework was not suitable for seventh-grade students; and that the teacher was not teaching the topics objectively as she had clear political motivations.
Following the email, the superintendent and school chairs held a meeting with the Flynns. Superintendent Welch responded to the couple’s concerns by insinuating that the teacher would not be changing the political nature of the curriculum. Flynn sent an email out to other concerned parents notifying them that the curriculum would not be changed.
On Oct. 30, the Flynns decided to remove their children from the public school system. The family assumed this would fix their concerns about the curriculum.
A few months later, on Jan. 20, Flynn was brought into a meeting with Superintendent Welch, Principal Fonest, and athletic director Traister in which they fired Flynn for the email he sent to parents addressing the left-wing curriculum.
The superintendent sent a letter to parents confirming that it was Flynn’s “significant philosophical differences” that rendered him unemployed.
“We are writing today and are sorry to inform you that Dave Flynn will not be reappointed as the Head Coach of Dedham High School football,” the letter read. “We met with Mr. Flynn today because he has expressed significant philosophical differences with the direction, goals, and values of the school district. Due to these differences, we felt it best to seek different leadership for the program at the time.”
Flynn is an alumnus of the school and became the head coach in 2011. According to the lawsuit, the coach was dedicated to the program and was well-liked by the community.
[Flynn] rebuilt his hometown team by dedicating his life to his players. He not only gives them a substantial amount of his time on the field but also provides rides and equipment to players in need. [Flynn] also is supportive of all members of the community. He invited a female student to join the JV football team and welcomed a student with special needs to serve as a team manager. He is well-liked and highly respected among parents and students.
Following the school’s decision, students and parents created a Change.org petition calling on the school to reinstate the beloved coach.