MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The principal of Cordova High School is suing Shelby County Schools.
He’s been off the job since last month, suspended for comments he made to students after the uprising at the Capitol.
Attorneys for Principal Barton Thorne claim his right to free speech was violated after he tried teaching a lesson to his students about free speech.
“It’s really indicative of the fact that this was about politics and not about good education,” said Daniel Suhr, senior attorney for the Liberty Justice Center, which filed a federal lawsuit against SCS on Thursday, February 25. “So we filed the lawsuit this morning and within an hour we were told that Principal Thorne would be reinstated,” said Suhr.
SCS suspended Thorne six weeks ago after a weekly address to students in which he talked about the Capitol Hill riots and social media giants Twitter and Facebook banning former President Trump.
“If they unilaterally decide what you can and cannot hear,” he told students, “that should be very chilling to you. That should be frightening.” “You may be in agreement with the people who are doing the filtering,” he continued, “but it’s just one moment away from somebody else being able to filter you.”
Thorne talked about democracies thriving on a marketplace of ideas, adding that what happened to the Branch Davidians in Waco could happen to any religion.
“Those in power, he told the kids, “are filtering the ideas of those not in power.”
“Unfortunately, Principal Thorne is not alone here,” attorney Suhr told WMC Action News 5, “This sort of culture is taking hold in a lot of our schools where the political correctness police are out in force.”
Thorne, whose lawsuit claims his First Amendment right to free speech was violated, returns to school on Friday.
“They took away his job,” said Suhr, “but they also took away his reputation and the district still needs to make that right.”
The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages.
WMC Action News 5 received the Transcript of Remarks to Cordova High School Students and Staff from Thorne: