Traverse City Special Ed teacher's complaints about case load are not protected by First Amendment
Susan M. Fox sued the Traverse City Area Public Schools, claiming that the school system retaliated against her for complaining about the District's special ed case load. The Court determined that Fox's speech was not a matter of "public interest" but merely a complaint about her personal conditions of employment and therefore not protected First Amendment speech. She was a probationary teacher at Blair Elementary in 2005 and 2006. Her contract was not renewed in 2007 because of alleged performance deficiencies. She claimed the non-renewal was a response to the fact that she voiced concern about carrying a case load that exceeded legal limits during the 2006-7 school year. According to the Court, Fox could not substantiate the claim that she had reported the illegal caseload five months earlier, and in any event under case precedent, the Sixth Circuit would not provide this speech with constitutional protection.