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Employment — Public employment — First Amendment

United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit


Employment — Public employment — First Amendment

A principal’s termination, for publicizing misconduct by her superior, did not violate the First Amendment.

“The principles that controlled in Vose and Renken are equally applicable here. Lindbergh’s reputation, its adherence to district policies, and its finances were all matters within McArdle’s oversight as the school’s principal, and were all allegedly impacted by Davis’ misconduct. In reporting on that alleged misconduct, McArdle spoke about matters that directly affected her area of responsibility. We conclude that McArdle’s reporting of that misconduct was speech as a public employee, and was not shielded from her employer’s response by the First Amendment. Because Davis’ recommendation was consistent with the district’s ultimate action, the conclusion that McArdle’s speech was unprotected as to the district is also applicable to Davis. Abcarian v. McDonald, 617 F.3d 931, 936-37 (7th Cir. 2010). McArdle claims that there are unresolved issues of fact regarding the motives of Davis and the district board, but since her speech was unprotected, her constitutional claims fail, and questions as to the defendants’ motives are not material. Summary judgment was properly granted to defendants on McArdle’s First Amendment claims.”


11-2437 McArdle v. Peoria School District No. 150

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, Mihm, J., Coleman, J.

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