A Wisconsin public school counselor is fighting back after being fired for speaking out against the left’s critical gender theory at a public rally earlier this year.
Marissa Darlingh, who was a counselor at Allen-Field Elementary School, is suing Milwaukee Public Schools for terminating her, with the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) arguing on her behalf that her personal views are protected speech under the First Amendment.
“The District has blatantly violated Ms. Darlingh’s First Amendment rights,” WILL Deputy Counsel, Luke Berg, said in a statement. “Firing her for expressing her views on such an important subject is not only inexcusable, but unconstitutional.”
In April of this year, Darlingh spoke at a feminist rally in Madison, Wisconsin, saying children should not be “exposed to the harms of gender identity ideology” or given “unfettered access to hormones—wrong-sex hormones—and surgery,” according to Fox News. She would be fired in September over that speech.
She also said she doesn’t support the social or medical transition of young children because she “exist[s] in this world to serve children” and “to protect children,” the network reported. Darlingh appeared on Fox News’s “The Ingraham Angle” back in June to discuss her case:
Darlingh would also say, “F–k transgendersim. F–k these people behind us who want children to have unfettered access to hormones,” with WILL explaining the vulgar remarks were a result of “the passion of the moment.”
“As a private citizen, I have the right to express my views concerning gender ideology on my own time, and identifying myself as a school counselor doesn’t negate that right,” Darlingh said in a statement.
“My speech had little to no impact on my students, their educational experience or our therapeutic relationship,” she would add. “The basis of my unscripted speech stemmed from my desire to protect children.”
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) had different ideas.
Days after her speech, according to the lawsuit, Darlingh was informed by a letter from DPI that the department had “opened an investigation to determine whether to initiate educator license revocation proceedings against [her]” for “immoral conduct,” such as her “statements that she ‘oppose[s] gender identity ideology from ever entering [her] school building,’ that she ‘do[es] not believe children should have access to hormones or surgery,’ that ‘none of her students will ever transition socially or medically under [her] ‘f—ing watch,’’ and her other uses of the f-word.”
The legal filing said the investigation was prompted by a group protesting the rally that campaigned to have Darlingh fired — multiple students interviewed as part of the investigation described Darlingh as the “best teacher” or one of “their favorite teachers.”
Darlingh’s supervisor and two HR employees brought misconduct proceedings against her, which resulted in her suspension and a “no-trespass order” being issued, Fox News reported.
The teacher did acknowledge “that her use of profanity went too far” and offered to “issue an apology to anyone who was offended by her use of profanity.” She also agreed to meet with staff or students who were offended by her remarks, to no avail.
The lawsuit “seeks reinstatement of Darlingh in her role at Allen-Field Elementary School, back-pay, damages for the constitutional violations and removal of the no-trespass order,” Fox News reported.
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