A Massachusetts school teacher fired for slamming critical race theory (CRT) and gender identity in two TikTok videos and six memes has filed a lawsuit against her former employers, citing the violation of her First Amendment rights.
Kari MacRae, who was hired in August to teach math and business at Hanover High School (HHS), was fired in September by Principal Matthew Mattos and Hanover Public Schools Superintendent Matthew Ferron after her social media posts made headlines in the Cape Cod Times and The Boston Globe.
The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts on Nov. 29, seeks “compensatory and punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, and all other appropriate relief.”
MacRae is represented by Judicial Watch, a nonprofit legal organization whose President Tom Fitton said she was singled out by the district officials interested in advancing an ideology.
“Kari MacRae was viciously targeted and unlawfully fired as a teacher because she exercised her First Amendment rights to criticize critical race theory,” Fitton said in a statement on Nov. 29.
“This civil rights lawsuit aims to hold accountable school district officials who are so desperate to push critical race theory that they will trample the civil rights of our client, Ms. MacRae.”
The filing says MacRae had created one of the videos as part of her campaign for Bourne School Committee member.
“The reason I ran for school board and the reason I’m taking on this responsibility is to ensure that students, at least in our town, are not being taught critical race theory. That they’re not being taught that the country was built on racism,” she said in a video posted on May 18 on her TikTok account, the filing states.
She added that she would oppose the teaching of gender identity to students in schools within the purview of the committee, if elected, so that students won’t be taught that “they can choose whether or not they want to be a girl or a boy.”
“It’s one thing to include and it’s one thing to be inclusive. And it’s one thing to educate everybody about everything. It’s completely another thing to push your agenda. And, with me on the school board, that won’t happen in our town,” she said.
In a second video that was posted by Boston.com on Sept. 22 alongside six memes, MacRae said she wouldn’t use the pronouns “them/they” to refer to someone.
“I’ll just use your name, thank you. I’m not going to be a liar and say you are plural when you are not,” she said.
The lawsuit details that in response, Mattos met with MacRae on Sept. 24, informing her that he was investigating the “impact” of her posts “referenced in the September 22, 2021 Boston Globe article.”
It added that MacRae, who on May 19 was elected to the Bourne School Committee, told Mattos that she had posted “the memes and videos in her personal capacity as a citizen and candidate for public office” and had done so months before getting hired by HHS.
But in a letter dated Sept. 29, Mattos fired MacRae from her position, stating, “I have determined that continuing your employment in light of your social media posts would have a significant impact on student learning at HHS.”
Ferron reviewed and approved Mattos’s decision to fire MacRae.
The filing argues that MacRae’s social media posts “did not cause any disruptions in the classroom.”
“On information and belief, no Hanover High School parent or student raised concerns about Plaintiff’s employment at Hanover High School because of the social media posts,” it said.
“Nor did Defendant Mattos inform Plaintiff of any raised concerns.”