A Woodstock native and Castleton grad who has been principal of the Windsor School has been placed on leave by her school board for expressing a teensy bit of skepticism about some of the methods of Black Lives Matter.
The controversy started when Riley was asked by a former student to remove an American flag that was painted on a hillside for Windsor High School’s graduation ceremony on June 5. Riley explained in an email to the school board that the American flag was there as a symbol of unity amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The former student then asked her to place a Black Lives Matter flag at the graduation ceremony.
Jared Carter, a Vermont Law School professor who teaches constitutional rights, said putting the principal on leave for political comments violates the First Amendment. “I think there are serious concerns when the state takes action against somebody for what is essentially political commentary and political speech in the context of what’s obviously a contemporary political issue,” Carter said. Chris Todd, a parent, wrote an email to the board on Friday night saying Riley shouldn’t be punished for expressing her opinion. “I realize Vermont is a very liberal state, but we conservatives have a point of view as well,” Todd said. “Paid admin leave for having her own opinion is a vile attempt to censor conservatives and in violation of her first amendment rights!”
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