Law School Case Brief
Krizek v. Bd. of Educ. - 713 F. Supp. 1131 (N.D. Ill. 1989)
Deference must be given to the judgment of the school administration, for all the reasons given in the earlier discussion of the need to allow school administrations to establish the contents of the curriculum. While a school board is not free to fire teachers for every random comment in the classroom, it is the duty of the teacher to be cognizant of and sensitive to the feelings of his students, their parents, and their community. It is the function of the school administration to see to it that teachers fulfill this duty. Therefore, the standard of review should be more deferential to the school.
Plaintiff Georgine Krizek was a non-tenured English teacher at Morton High School's West Campus in Berwyn, Illinois. The school was operated by defendant Board of Education of Cicero-Stickney Township High School District No. 201 Cook County, Illinois ("Board"). She showed a film with an "R" rating to her third year high school students. Thereafter, the Board elected not to renew her employment contract. Krizek filed an action in federal district court against the Board and others. Krizek sought a preliminary injunction to enjoin the Board's decision not to renew her contract, alleging that it violated her rights under U.S. Const. amend. I.
Was the non-renewal of Krizek's contract violative of her First Amendment rights?
The district court concluded that Krizek did not have a substantial likelihood of proving that the failure to renew her contract for showing the film was a violation of her first amendment rights, even though there was no rule against it. The court concluded that Krizek had a substantial likelihood of demonstrating that her showing the film was a substantial factor in the decision not to renew her employment contract, but that was not enough. The court held that the extent of the vulgarity and sexual explicitness in the film was such that it was likely that the evidence would demonstrate that the Board was reasonable in determining that its showing was a serious indiscretion.
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