Kari MacRae was terminated from her teaching position at Hanover High School on Sept. 29 following an internal investigation into six memes and two TikTok videos, at least one of which she posted as part of her campaign while running as a candidate for the Bourne School Committee.
MacRae was elected and was sworn in as a member of the school board on May 19. In one May 18 video posted on Election Day, she filmed herself filling out the ballot for her name and then again once back in her car, as she discussed her decision to run for the elected school board position.
“So pretty much the reason I ran for school board and the reason I’m taking on this responsibility is to ensure that students, at least in our town, are not being taught critical race theory,” MacRae said. “That they’re not being taught that the country was built on racism. So they’re not being taught that they can choose whether or not they want to be a girl or a boy. It’s one thing to include and it’s one thing to be inclusive. And it’s one thing to educate everybody about everything. It’s completely another thing to push your agenda. And, with me on the school board, that won’t happen in our town.”
Kari MacRae, elected Bourne School Committee member in May, is now running for Massachusetts Senate in 2022.
The video was posted before MacRae was hired as a math and business teacher at Hanover High School on Aug. 31. Since the videos and memes surfaced, the Bourne school union has called for her resignation from the committee – even after her firing as a teacher in Hanover.
Judicial Watch, a conservative free speech activist group, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts on MacRae’s behalf. It is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, as well as payment for legal fees, from Hanover High School Principal Matthew Mattos and Hanover Public Schools Superintendent Matthew A. Ferron.
The lawsuit claims none of MacRae’s posts identified her as a teacher or a Hanover Public Schools’ employee, and she explained to Mattos in a meeting on Sept. 24 that “she posted the memes and videos in her personal capacity as a citizen and candidate for public office.”
Additionally, MacRae’s social media posts “did not cause any disruptions in the classroom,” and Mattos did not inform her of any disruptions, the filing says. “No Hanover High School parent or student raised concerns about Plaintiff’s employment at Hanover High School because of the social media posts,” the lawsuit alleges. “Nor did Defendant Mattos inform Plaintiff of any raised concerns.”
Ferron reviewed and approved of Mattos’ decision to fire MacRae, the lawsuit says.
In her Sept. 29 termination letter, Mattos wrote, “I have determined that continuing your employment in light of your social media posts would have a significant impact on student learning at HHS.”
“I got fired specifically for a social media post I made,” MacRae told the Cape Cod Times on Oct. 13. “That’s a violation of free speech.”
Hanover Public Schools has referenced a Massachusetts state law which allows school districts to terminate teachers within their first 90 days of employment, with or without cause.
“Defendants, acting under color of Massachusetts law, deprived Plaintiff of her rights under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution when they fired Plaintiff for exercising her right to Freedom of Speech,” Judicial Watch’s attorney Michael Bekesha argues. “Plaintiff has suffered loss of earning, emotional distress, loss of reputation, and harassment as a result of being fired by Principal Mattos and Superintendent Ferron.”
Fox News Digital reached out to MacRae, Mattos and Ferron for comment.
In a statement obtained by the Boston Herald, Ferron said, “The Hanover Public School District understands and respects the First Amendment rights of all employees.”
“That being said,” the superintendent added, “if a teacher publicly interfaces with the community in a way that may negatively impact our ability to provide a positive and distraction free learning environment for our students and staff, it is important that school districts have the ability to exercise their 90-day dismissal option under Massachusetts law.”
MacRae, who has been on the school board for six months, announced in late November that she would also run as a Republican for the Massachusetts state Senate come 2022, Cape News reported.