Question: Jennifer O Brien a tenured teacher in the Paterson New Jersey
Jennifer O’Brien, a tenured teacher in the Paterson, New Jersey, schools with an unblemished performance record, was assigned to teach first grade in a school populated primarily by minority students. After a time, O’Brien concluded that several students in the class had behavioral problems that were disturbing the learning environment. Some students were hitting each other, one struck O’Brien, and another stole money from O’Brien and other students. O’Brien felt administrators had not responded adequately to her complaints, and she posted on her own Facebook page after school hours: “I’m not a teacher—I’m a warden for future criminals.” Parents and others were outraged. Protests followed. O’Brien said her remarks were not a commentary on race or ethnicity but were legitimate concerns about the behavior of some students. O’Brien was dismissed from her teaching position. She sued, claiming, among other things, her actions were protected by the First Amendment. Decide the case. Explain.
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