Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 79° Clear
News >  K-12 education

Former Evergreen Middle School assistant principal sues district, after demotion for explicit political Facebook post

UPDATED: Tue., Aug. 24, 2021

A former Evergreen Middle School Assistant Principal filed a lawsuit against Central Valley School District Tuesday alleging his first amendment rights were violated when he was demoted over an explicit Facebook post, in which he called former First Lady Michelle Obama racist.

Randey Thompson, 59, filed the federal lawsuit against not only the school district but the superintendent and the board of education.

After watching the Democratic National Convention on Aug. 17, 2020, Thompson, a self described conservative republican, made two explicit posts, according to the lawsuit.

In the first post, he called the convention by a pejorative and said it was full of lies, including a rant by “hateful racist (expletive)” Michelle Obama, according to the lawsuit.

He continued to say that people who believe what was said at the convention are “being played by a fake media, athleats and performer (who are really clueless and flyers with pedophile man).”

He then posted another explicit post with similar language.

Thompson’s attorney argued in the suit that the posts were private and not made during school hours. In the complaint, Thompson also argues that his Facebook page did not identify him as a school district employee.

Two days after Thompson made the posts, he was put on administrative leave for allegations of unprofessional conduct.

A former co-worker, who was one of a dozen Facebook friends who were sent the posts, had passed the post along to another co-worker. The post then made its way to Superintendent Ben Small, who placed Thompson on leave.

The legal complaint calls the discipline a “vicious attack and character assassination of Mr. Thompson and his reputation.”

The suit alleges a “small handful of unidentified people who were somehow personally offended” by Thompson’s post, including Small, was used as reason to discipline him.

Thompson was placed on paid administrative leave for the entire school year before he was demoted to a teaching position on May 17, according to the suit.

Central Valley School District declined to comment on the lawsuit through spokesperson Marla Nunberg.

Thompson appealed the decision and spoke to the school board during executive session on June 14, according to the complaint. The school board upheld Small’s decision to discipline Thompson, who filed the suit in response, asking for damages and to return to his role as assistant principal.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.