School Prepares to Terminate Teacher for Facebook Post Opposing Common Core Curriculum

Deborah Vailes has been teaching junior high in Louisiana’s Rapides Parish School District for the past twelve years. She is passionate about helping special needs children become better readers. Little did she know that an early morning post critical of the Common Core Curriculum on her personal Facebook page would lead to disciplinary action, suppression of her right to free speech, retaliation from school officials, and possible loss of her job.

As a result, the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, [yesterday] morning, filed a lawsuit in the Federal District Court for the Western District of Louisiana on behalf of Deborah Vailes against the Rapides Parish School District and the principal of Pineville Junior High School, Dr. Dana Nolan.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, commenting on the reason for the lawsuit, stated: “Public school students have become ‘guinea pigs’ in a vast untested educational experiment dictated by the Federal Government. Our Constitution never envisioned federal control over education. But sadly, most states have voluntarily abdicated their responsibilities over education for federal dollars. Their decision will prove disastrous, not only for public education, but also for the freedom guaranteed by our Constitution. Debbie Vailes’ uncompromising love for her students prompted her to speak out. And her voice should not be silenced by a tyrannical principal.”


Facts

On September 23, 2014, at approximately by 5:58 AM, Debora Vailes re-posted on her personal Facebook page a photograph of a little girl crying because of the shortcomings of Common Core. Later that day, her school principal, Dr. Dana Nolan, after discovering the post, gave Deborah Vailes her first written reprimand and ordered her to refrain from expressing any opinion about public education on social media and to remove her anti-Common Core post from the social media site – ASAP. (The school district refers to written reprimands as a “documented conferences.”) Dr. Nolan further informed Deborah that she could not to discuss her opinion in public – on any social media or any public forum.

Two days later, Dr. Nolan held a mandatory faculty meeting of the Pineville Junior high school. She informed the faculty at the meeting that Deborah Vailes was reprimanded due to posting a negative opinion about Common Core on Facebook. Dr. Nolan warned the faculty not to share their personal opinions or speak-out in any way. After hearing about the Principal’s gag order, Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, issued an executive order that teachers were to be afforded the same constitutional guarantees afforded to all citizens. However, his executive order did not deter the Defendant, Dr. Nolan, from continuing her vendetta against Deborah Vailes.

Before Vailes posted her Facebook criticism of Common Core, she had a stellar personnel record; she had never received a reprimand. Since her public criticism, she has received three additional written reprimands. School administrators are now constantly visiting her class, when before her criticism of Common Core, such visits were rare. Dr. Nolan has stripped Debbie Vailes of her responsibilities, and placed her in a job category which, according to Vailes’ colleagues, will be eliminated at the end of the school year resulting in her termination.

TMLC Senior Trial Counsel Erin Mersino and Alexandria, Louisiana attorney, Theodore D. Vicknair are representing Deborah Vailes. Mersino stated “Accepting employment in the public sector does not mean a total loss of First Amendment freedom. Public employees may readily comment on matters of public concern, such as the Common Core Curriculum, and do so free from any retaliation from their employer. What the School District and Principal are doing to Debbie Vailes is blatantly wrong.”

Click here to read TMLC’s entire Complaint

Difficulties with Common Core State Standards

Common Core State Standards (“Common Core”) are national standards in education promoted and funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers together established Common Core as a set of academic standards to be used in common across all states. These standards replace the existing state standards in the applicable academic areas.

Although Common Core has been adopted by 43 states (including Louisiana), its implementation has caused an uproar from caring parents, grandparents and educators alike. According to an October 2014 Gallup poll, 62% of teachers are frustrated with the Common Core State Standards.

Adding to the frustration is the fact that the Common Core Standards were untested prior to their implementation. They were implemented without any prior research being conducted on their efficacy, resulting in standards that at best reflect guesswork. Many child development experts have decried even the creation of the standards without input from classroom teachers or early childhood professionals.

Compounding the anger over the standards themselves was the overwhelming emphasis on standardized testing. The Common Core State Standards require so much testing, that teachers can only teach to the test.

Moreover, Common Core’s method for teaching math over-complicates and adds numerous seemingly illogical steps to solving math problems.

Many parents and teachers have also expressed concern over the English Standards set by the Common Core. The reading selections considered to be representative examples of what students should be reading, feature incest, rape and drug use, as well as far left political viewpoints. (Read more about the Common Core Curriculum HERE)

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  • CaptTurbo

    Common Core is a vial, evil attack on our children to indoctrinate them into Marxism.

    • hookemowls

      Totally agree! One of the top reasons to reject that democrat Jeb bush!

      Sadly, our education system was hijacked years ago by the commits, thus the reason so many skewed thinking people who are too brainwashed to realize they are giving up their freedoms, free will, and free choice….right out of the Twilight Zone.

      • B Wiser

        it’s a problem for walker as well, but Jeb Bush is a piece of institutional garbage and a true ass of a candidate. His wife “Eva Perone” Bush-is such a scholar-she got busted avoiding taxes when bringing lots of Jewelry into the U.S when Jeb was governor….

    • pineapple

      It should be called “Kommie Kore.”

      • USACITIZEN97

        YEP::::::: BUT IT WE THE PEOPLE, NOT YOU THE KING……..::::::::: TIME FOR STATE MILITIA TO TAKE BACK THE COUNTRY…. THE DEMS AND LIBS STARTED USING KKK WHEN OPPOSITION GOT IN THEIR WAY AND IT ONLY HAS GOTTEN WORSE

      • facebook is Dero

        the Kommie’s are too serious about real math training than to actually use the crap espoused in common core.

    • henryknox

      The teacher should realize that in these days of Marxist rule it is not permitted to question authority.

  • mcThinker

    Well, it appears that if one works for the government, then they’d better be supportive of the government program. No wonder home schooling is becoming more and more popular. Sending children to the government’s compulsory education system is akin to child neglect.

    • jimini9

      I suggest that all elementary and high schools be eliminated by 2016 and learning be accomplished on line by competent persons who are experts in science, mathematics and English and American history and literature. (No state “certification” of teachers; No “EDUCATION” degrees allowed!) No psychologists, counselors, assistant principals, principals or superintendents. No overpaid coaches and trainers, no gyms with saunas, no swimming pools, no running tracks, no staff of forty janitors and maintenance, no 50 “administrators” exchanging papers in their in-baskets at $50,000 per year. Shall I go on? A kid graduates at 16 ready to work anywhere or can go on to two years of college for professions, or maybe four if pre-med or engineering.

      • mcThinker

        All good points. However, I think if one has children, they should simply be provided a voucher from their State that allows them to choose the private sector education of the parent’s choice. Only then, would we see real innovation and competition in education.

        • jim

          the problem with that is the parent is still sending their tax dollars to the government for educating other children,what I believe is that the government should be taken out of the education system altogether.

          • mcThinker

            I believe most States use property tax to fund the government’s education system. Everyone who owns property is paying to educate children. The State has a role to play, but only the Constitutional power to tax. Other than that function, parents ought to take charge of their children’s education.

          • B Wiser

            let me know when that happens? I have a cold beer in the fridge I’m waiting to drink. Oh, wait -that is never going to happen so I am going to have that beer now.

          • facebook is Dero

            right, the Feds should be removed from the equation.

      • SF soldier

        Sounds good to me.

      • Ryan

        I disagree. One of the great things about school is that there are activities and, well, friends to be made. If all kids are home schooled, than the obesity rate will skyrocket because no one will go outside. So unless the YMCA becomes free for children, I disagree with you.

        Also, just because you’re an expert in your field does not qualify you to be a teacher. In my college experience, I’ve come across professors that talk monotone and frankly don’t know how to teach. Smart people, but bad at getting that point across. Ironically, in comparison to your comment, the one time I did have a online class, the instructor did not know how to put together tests and quizzes to follow along with the text. So again, I disagree with you.

        People. Instead of getting rid of schools altogether, we need to improve them.

        • karen

          Being homeschooled has no correlation with obesity…ludicrous.

      • kenoc

        This is the most absurd attack on schools and teachers that I have ever seen. So we shouldn’t have qualified teachers!!! Would you say the same about doctors, dentists, accountants, pilots and plumbers? No you wouldn’t so don’t make silly suggestions about the need for qualified professionals in our schools.

    • Kent2012

      more aptly “child abuse”….the indoctrination that started many years ago has reached a fever pitch…it is time to slam this nonsense back into the faces of the communists….we need more “young guns” in DC that will take apart the bureaucracies as they are currently defined and make answerable to congress…not a wannabe dicktator and his lackey administration….

      • Kimberly Rock

        Yes, I agree it is a form of child abuse.. Parents need to get their priorities straight and get their kids out of government schools before it’s too late.. You only get one chance to raise your kids.. Don’t risk this at any cost…

        • It’s too late to simply home school or send your children to private school. Common Core is a requirement for those students now.
          Missouri just won a case that declared Common Core UN-Constitutional. Citizens must stand up and fight this top down indoctrination. (Take over).

    • Kimberly Rock

      I absolutely agree, mcThinker…

    • pineapple

      It’s more like child abuse.

  • wandamurline

    If the states would stand together against the federal government on education, we could stop this train wreck. We send our tax dollars to Washington and then they send them back to us for education, our own dollars that we sent them in the first place, and then tell us what we have to do to continue to get our money back….here is my take on this since the Department of Education is Unconstitutional, if the states refuse to send their education dollars to Washington, and just keep them in their own states, then we would not have to continue to endure anything the feds send down….it is called freedom to chose.

  • akprayingmom

    GOD bless Debbie Vailes! We need more teachers like her who love their students and put their needs above they (the teacher).

  • Dowhatsrigh

    How is it that schools can get rid of someone for expressing their own opinion on their own time, but we can not get rid of all the perverts that allow boys to use the girls bathroom just because they claim they feel more like a girl than a boy? How is it that we can not get rid of the school staff that suspends a kid for saying “God Bless America/” How is it that they get rid of this teacher, but we can not get rid of the teachers that will not have her class recite the Pledge of Allegiance?
    How is it that they can fire this teacher and we can not fire the entire school board, Administrator, and staff for not doing their job and for being perverts?

    • Kent2012

      because the marxists have so completely infected the education system….now we have an “approver” in the oral office and the scum that have infested the government since before WWII are simply “coming out of the closet”….

  • Terri Jones

    I’m glad she “prepared” herself and got an attorney to fight this stupid crap!!! How would the principal have even known she commented on common crap unless one, she was just looking to find something on this teacher ot two, one of her teacher friends who’s a FB “friend” ratted her out?? Article says “she discovered”….I find that very suspicious. EVERYBODY needs to keep FIGHTING COMMON CRAP!!!. Our tests are next week and our principal was very excited that I was even aware of it last year and pulled my kids out!!!

  • toomuchsense

    Dana Nolan is a classic example of a fascist. Pity the good people in that school district that oppose Dana Nolan. What a sad example of human indecency.

  • Jayendran the Cat

    Looks like while they were planning to clobber her they got clobbered themselves. And all the talk about freedom of expression and all that jazz are nothing more than mere buzz words.

  • Jsonny

    Every American needs to watch the youtube on Dr. Duke Pesta regarding Common Core. This will really open your eyes and make you angry.

  • SF soldier

    Dr Nolan must have gotten instructions from her mentor obamar, after all taking away people’s 1st amendment rights is nothing to their type. Brainwashing is what common core is for, brainwashing your children into salves of the government. Most of you out there turned out ok, look at our country up to now, our system wasn’t broken, biggest and best country on earth, up till now!! What you going to do about it? Someone should see to her firing!!!

  • Kmbold

    Vile.

  • MrChicken

    Go get em mrs Vailes. Dr. Nolan is the one that should loose her job.

  • SmithWinston6478

    One more reason to eliminate Jeb Bush from the presidential election. He supports Common Core – which puts control of local educational curricula in the hands of the ever-expanding federal government.

    “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” ~ Voltaire
    “Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.” ~ Joseph Stalin
    “It is the responsibility of the patriot to protect his country from its government.” ~ Thomas Paine

  • liberty49

    I hope she fights this! Last time I checked, Louisiana was still part of America! Those Marxists can put Common Core where the sun don’t shine!

  • Laila

    Who is surprised by any of this in education? As I have said many times, each year someone (or some group of folks) get bullied in a school. It has nothing to do with teacher quality and everything to do with admin throwing around their weight. Education has become a nasty business of drama and I am glad to get out.

  • B Wiser

    We must not question anything that our Dear Leader the Jihadist in Chief and his commie minions desire for us. We are all too stupid to realize how awesome it all is…how dare anyone express an opinion contrary to our dear leader…Hey liberals? You paying attention here? oh, wait today’s Democratic party is not liberal, it isn’t progressive it has been taken over by communists. Scum of the Earth…and of course on the other side of the aisle we have “Scumlight” in the form of the Republican leadership which has no interest in opposing tyranny.

  • B Wiser

    “It takes a Village” -(to raise a moron)

  • jcbjr

    Apparently, the study of our Constitution is not a part of Common core. Unless Ms. Vailes signed an employment contract giving up her 1st Amendment rights, this case should be a slam dunk in court.

  • Skibby3

    That’s what happens when you live in a state with no unions allowed.

    • Daninfla6th

      There is NO SUCH STATE in the United States of America!
      Unions and the right to organize is perfectly legal in ALL 50 States. What is NOT LEGAL in half of the States is the tyrannical and dictatorial practice of FORCING people who do not wish to contribute to the Progressive, usually Democrat, union but are FORCED TO by the same Progressive and dictatorial tyrants in the government.
      That being said, please elucidate as to where I am incorrect about there being no such State in this Union of States! I am prepared to apologize if proven wrong.

  • kenoc

    I totally disagree with her and others criticism of the excellent and necessary Common Core standards but I also totally disagree with her being reprimanded for expressing her opinions. I though America is supposed to be the land of the free!

    • Leo

      ” I though America is supposed to be the land of the free!”
      There is no ‘R’ in fee

  • PJ

    Are you people out of your mind? Let her teach! I just don’t get what the hell is going on in this country anymore!!!???What the helll? Is it for you or the children? Did you try this test? I looked at it and some of these questions ………..sorry, but the teachers and the BIG goverments can’t even solve! I think, you all need to crawl back in your fricken hole and let the REAL teachers teach! Idiots

  • Rebecca

    where is her governor???????? example of union control!

  • reggiec

    Snow is black quote

    –Bertrand Russell, The Impact of Science on Society, 1951

    …”I think the subject which will be of most importance politically is mass psychology…. Its importance has been enormously increased by the growth of modern methods of propaganda. Of these
    the most influential is what is called ‘education.’ Religion plays a part,
    though a diminishing one; the press, the cinema, and the radio play an increasing part…. It may be hoped that in time anybody will be able to persuade anybody of anything if he can catch the patient young and is provided by the State with money and equipment.”

    “…The subject will make great strides when it is
    taken up by scientists under a scientific dictatorship…. The social
    psychologists of the future will have a number of classes of school children on whom they will try different methods of producing an unshakable conviction that snow is black (a metaphor). Various results will soon be arrived at. First, that the influence of home is obstructive. Second, that not much can be done
    unless indoctrination begins before the age of ten. Third, that verses set to music and repeatedly intoned are very effective. Fourth, that the opinion that snow is white must be held to show a morbid taste for eccentricity. But I anticipate. It is for future scientists to make these maxims precise and discover exactly how much it costs per head to make children believe that snow is black, and how much less it would cost to make them believe it is dark gray.”

    “…Although this science will be diligently studied, it will be rigidly confined to the governing class. The populace will not be
    allowed to know how its convictions were generated. WHEN THE TECHNIQUE HAS BEEN PERFECTED, EVERY GOVERNMENT THAT HAS BEEN IN CHARGE OF EDUCATION FOR A
    GENERATION WILL BE ABLE TO CONTROL ITS SUBJECTS SECURELY WITHOUT THE NEEDS OF ARMIES
    OR POLICEMEN” (MY CAPS)

    Now think a little and see if you can name areas where it is not snow but where other realities are being manipulated by government, the left and powerful special interest groups. (Common Core, anti-gun indoctrination, cyber manipulation, etc.) Why are we
    allowing it to be done?

    The debasement of, traditional and classical knowledge,
    individualism and independent thinking is necessary if a government is to control its citizens and convince them to accept an ideology that a legitimate education would cause them to reject.
    This debasement must be fought against at every turn.

    Consider this statement by Vladimir Lenin.

    “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I
    have sown will never be uprooted.”

    *****
    Apparently now if a teacher resists this program the snow is black people will try to fire you.

  • facebook is Dero

    teacher’s union’s are pretty useless in terms of helping their members as a rule, but if they have such in La, where are they? If they don’t, probably not much they would do anyway as they generally support all that PC stuff.

  • chgotchr

    This principal is a bully, and she’s not an exception. When a principal has it in for you not even your union can help. Good luck, Deborah!

  • rockthebenz

    Home School is the only defense until a real American President takes over (and I don’t mean hillary) so this crazy apple core can be jettisoned!

  • ConniServAtive

    nobody else thinks to question that most teachers are in a union. I can’t speak for the teachers union in Louisiana but I taught in NYC and the teachers union is notoriously strong. It is next to impossible to terminate a teacher once they have tenure…In NYC and many teacher unions across the country there is no way they would be able to be terminated for Facebook posts

  • ConniServAtive

    outside of unions everyone else is an “at will” employee…that means they can be fired for any reason…including Facebook posts. I find it so strange that so many conservatives are angered by this. They don’t want employers to have that right. They seem to think everyone is entitled to a job for life….kinda like socialism…which they hate…

  • ConniServAtive

    and firing someone for a Facebook post does not violate their right to Freedom of Speech. An employee can be fired and be free to say anything they want on Facebook once they are fired…see…no violation of their freedom of speech. Put in jail for a Facebook post would be a different story…

  • ConniServAtive

    everyone should experiment with this tomorrow. Post something that would anger your employer. Maybe bad mouth your boss or company or the industry you work in. Let is get back to them. And then see what happens. When you get fired you can still have your freedom of speech. you can say whatever you like on Facebook but your employer is not obligated to keep you as an employee if they don’t want to. And if that concept angers you then maybe you’re a Socialist and you don’t realize it…

  • Leo

    Same thing happens to teachers/scientists who try to speak out against the lies in textbooks about evolution.

    • ConniServAtive

      where does this happen Leo? In NYC there are tenured teachers who have been accused of sexual misconduct with their students and they still can’t be terminated! They have a powerful union that protects them. So while they are removed from the classroom they sit in a “rubber room” and collect salaries up to 100,000 a year. So this concept of a teacher being fired for a Facebook post is either not true or the story is manipulated to suit somebody’s agenda….But I’m curious to hear where teachers are fired for speaking out…and why they don’t have a union to protect them. Try to remove your tinfoil hat before answering…

  • Bob2002

    Common Core is destroying our school system and is really a means to indoctrinate the students to the liberal way. This teacher should sue the Principle, the School Administration, and the State for requiring Common Core. everyone should remember this and ask each candidate in 2016 whether they support Common Core. Those that do support it should be defeated. Jeb Bush is for Common Core and is running for president; remember this.

    • ConniServAtive

      I agree. I like your way of thinking. Do things the conservative way…sue everyone!!! waste as much taxpayer money as possible on frivolous lawsuits!!!!! makes me so proud of my fellow conservatives…

      • Bob2002

        You are a piece of work and no one is fooled by your cynicism. Are you voting for the liberal Jeb Bush in 2016? Also, its not conservatives who sue, its Democrats.

    • ConniServAtive

      indoctrinating the students is the least of it. I have two kids of my own. You should see what they are doing in math. Trying to brainwash them in math by teaching them to round numbers so they can add in their head! can you believe that! in their head…the old fashioned way! it’s crazy. why do we have calculators if they can just use their own brains!!! It makes me so mad!!!!

    • ConniServAtive

      and Bob…I’m with you all the way. First of all, they need to realize we are conservatives and we don’t believe in having “standards” for our kids!!!! what kind of liberal hogwash is that!!! setting a standard…c’mon, everyone should just reach whatever goal they want in math. Who says kids should be able to multiply fractions in 5th grade!!!! how dare they!!!!! The government is not going to tell my 5th grader that they should try to reach a “standard” such as being able to multiply fractions.I say, you tell your kids there are no standards. If they try to teach them to multiply fractions just have them refuse!!!!!! fight the fight.

  • Mr. Miller, its not just the teachers who are suffering at the hands of school districts. My daughter’s right to free speech was also violated by a high school here in Texas. There is information about it on my wall if you are interested in hearing her story. We too are taking legal action against the school and the district.

  • Dudley Brooks

    (1) The school impinging on this teacher’s First Amendment rights is definitely odious.

    (2)
    There are many legitimate concerns about Common Core. (My own concern is that the corporations behind Common Core — who are also the publishers of the testing programs — are in favor of privatization and
    corporatization of schools, which I am extremely against (they want schools to be for profit, not education), and have close connections with the insidious organization ALEC.

    (3)
    However, most of the arguments I have seen against the *content* of Common Core are completely preposterous and, in general, false.

    Disclaimer: I was employed by a textbook publisher who is publishing textbooks which teach Common Core. This means, however, that I am very familiar with the actual Common Core material — which is online, by the way, so anyone can read it and check it out for themselves.

    In particular:

    (1) The most ridiculous claims are the ones of the form “Common Core specifies a very complicated way to solve simple problems.” I even saw one article which claimed that Common Core specifies 147 (or whatever) steps to solve a simple algebra problem. This is totally false (and probably a deliberate lie) for the very simple reason that NOWHERE does Common Core say HOW students are supposed to solve problems — it only says WHICH problems they are expected to solve. If there is ANY truth to this claim, it must have been about some particular author’s version of a book teaching the material. (But I don’t believe that ANY book gave a 147-step solution to an algebra problem. That’s completely preposterous.)

    (2) I was in school in the 1950s and 1960s, long before Common Core (even before “The New Math”, which was sort of an earlier version of Common Core in some ways). Therefore I learned Math and English the “traditional, old-fashioned” way. I can tell you that the material which Common Core says students should know (at least in Math, which is what I was editing for the publisher) are just about EXACTLY the “old-fashioned” math which I learned. There’s really nothing “revolutionary” about it. Math is math.

    If you want to criticize the politics of Common Core (forcing it on everyone, who’s behind it — which, by the way, is mostly big CAPITALIST publishing and testing corporate monopolies, not communists), etc., please do so. It’s an extremely important debate.

    But if you want to discuss the CONTENT, then please know what you’re talking about. Most of the respondents on this website do not.