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At issue in Mt. Healthy City Board of Education v. Doyle (1977) was whether a school board could defend itself in a First Amendment retaliation claim by proving that it would have made the same employment decision in the absence of a teacher's allegedly protected free speech activity.

Facts of the Case

The dispute arose when a nontenured Ohio high school teacher, Doyle, sent a local radio station a copy of his principal's memo about a school dress code and included his own opinions. Doyle was employed under a series of one- and two-year teaching contracts between 1966 and 1971. Elected president of the teachers association in 1970, Doyle sought to expand direct negotiations between the association and the school board. During the same year, Doyle engaged ...

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