Attorneys with the Alliance Defending Freedom said last week a McAllister substitute teacher fired in October won a $181,000 settlement and reinstatement from Bryan County Schools.
The group said Lindsay Barr also received a written letter “publicly stating regret” from Bryan County Schools Superintendent Dr. Paul Brooksher.
School officials, meanwhile, say the settlement was a “business decision,” made at the urging of the system’s insurance company and “in no way ... an admission of guilt or wrongdoing,” and the letter Brooksher signed was scripted as part of the settlement agreement.
“The insurance company for Bryan County Schools made a business decision to settle this lawsuit, to save the time, trouble, and expense of litigation. It has paid the settlement amount, with none of that money coming from the School District. The settlement agreement states Mrs. Barr was paid $45,000 and her attorneys were paid $136,000 for fees and costs. Both were paid by the insurance company,” according to a BCS statement. “The District notes that there is no admission of liability on the part of the School District. In fact, the District Court Judge had denied Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction, determining that Plaintiff failed to establish a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of her claims.”
Barr said in October she was fired for expressing concerns over drawings of same sex couples in “All Are Welcome,” a childrens’ book about diversity of religion, nationality and sexual orientation. The book has gotten positive reviews from Kirkus and Common Sense Media, but has also led to controversy.
In a press release announcing the settlement, ADF senior counsel Philip Sechler said “Lindsey spoke out as a Christian, a mother, and a private citizen on an important issue — namely, the content and age-appropriateness of a picture book that the school planned to read to her kids and other elementary-aged children that conflicted with her family’s values and faith. Yet school officials immediately retaliated against her for expressing those views and fired her from a job at which she excelled, We commend the school district for finally doing the right thing and understanding that the First Amendment protects the right of Lindsey — and all public employees — to express their concerns about what schools are teaching children without the government cancelling them.”
The ADF is an Arizona- based conservative Christian legal advocacy group.