SMITHVILLE, Ohio -- The ACLU has sent a letter to an Ohio school board demanding the reinstatement of a teacher the organization claims was removed from his job "because he opposed dairy farming, on his personal Facebook page, on his own time."
Keith Allison was a second grade title one teacher. Away from work, WJW reports Allison is a vegan and animal rights advocate who openly posts his views on his personal Facebook page.
In August, Allison took pictures of a local dairy farm that shows what he described as crates that are used to house baby cows who are separated from their mothers at birth.
“As someone who grew up feeling parental love and support, and now as a parent who gives love and support, I reject the claim that separating babies from loving mothers to raise them isolated in boxes can ever be considered humane,” he wrote on the post.
After that post, he said the school district pulled his one-year contract when it was up for renewal.
The owners of the farm called the superintendent and expressed that they were "upset" and "frightened" by the post.
“During the meeting with my superintendent, I was informed we live in a large agricultural area, which is true, and that a lot of our money for the schools comes through residents of the community and that I needed to be very careful of what I put on [Facebook] because I might offend the community and the economic interests of the community,” Allison told WJW. “I was also told that I could have any personal beliefs I want to have, but if I want to be a strong Vegan advocate, I might want to look into doing something other than teaching.”
The ACLU argues Allison's post is protected by freedom of speech.
Allison says he is asking for his job back with back pay.