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Teacher Terminated for Political Cartoons Files Lawsuit

Posted on April 25th, 2013

A teacher from St. Tammany Parish has filed a lawsuit against the school system claiming his rights under the teachers’ collective bargaining agreement were violated and he was treated unfairly.

After having a pristine record for 13 years while teaching social studies at Boyet Junior High School, Robert Duncan was put on administrative leave in February 2012 for displaying a controversial portrait that a student created. He was fired six months later.

It all came about when a parent took pictures of posters displayed in a hallway. One portrait displayed the president with a circle on his right temple, which some interpret as a bullet hole. The parent then sent the pictures to news media.

The student who drew the portrait claims the mark on the temple was an error and she requested that Duncan did not display it. Despite her denial, other students created portraits that contained drawings of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck standing next to a sign that read “Obama season” with President Obama’s face in the portrait as well. A different picture had President Obama and Mitt Romney bantering and yelling threats at each other. Sarah Palin was featured in another portrait, riding an elephant and holding an AK-47.

Duncan claims to not have seen the mark on temple of the president. He claims that had he noticed the mark, he would not have displayed it. Attorney’s for Duncan argue that the mark was added later, after Duncan had originally seen it.

The lawsuit, which names the School Board, superintendent and several administrators, seeks damages for lost salary and benefits, as well as request to have Duncan’s job reinstated.

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