Target: School Board President Brent Steiner
Goal: Apologize for dismissing a teacher because of his animal rights activism, and offer him his job back
After posting a Facebook status critiquing the practices of a local dairy farm, Keith Allison was informed that the school district he taught for would not be renewing his one-year contract. Allison, a Title One teacher, was well respected at the school, but the school claimed that the owners of the farm had complained and the district was worried about losing money. According to Allison, the school also told him that if he wanted “to be a strong Vegan advocate, [he] might want to look into doing something other than teaching.”
The post to Allison’s Facebook page simply said that he rejected the idea that separating baby cows from their mothers to raise them in crates could be humane. Allison was expressing his opinion and calling for compassion and humane treatment for animals, but the school claimed that the farm in his pictures was afraid of retribution by animal rights activists. While the school was within its rights not to renew his contract, citing his veganism as a reason he wouldn’t make a good teacher and dismissing him because he calmly expressed his feelings on his personal Facebook page is unethical.
Allison is seeking reinstatement, back pay, and an apology. The school district’s handling of this case has been unacceptable—refusing to reinstate a contract because a teacher expressed his personal beliefs about animal welfare and then claiming that veganism and a teaching career can’t work together is unprofessional and unethical. Support Keith Allison by asking the school board president to reevaluate the board’s position and apologize for their treatment of the teacher.
Dear President Steiner,
When Keith Allison was dismissed for a status posted on his personal Facebook page, he was told that his being an advocate for animal rights meant he should pursue a career in something other than teaching. As a Title One teacher with an interest in animal rights, Allison is clearly compassionate—what better quality could a teacher have?
Green Local Schools needs to apologize for its treatment of Allison. His critique of the dairy industry was made on a personal Facebook page and the district’s handling of his dismissal was unprofessional. While a good relationship with the community that funds the school is undeniably important, so is the treatment of the district’s instructors.
Please reconsider Allison’s dismissal. While his personal beliefs may not align with the district’s, there are plenty of ways to approach the issue before choosing not to renew his contract. Please apologize for the poor handling of this issue.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: ceridwen at Wikimedia Commons