© 2021 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Statehouse News Stories

ACLU Wants School Employee Accused Of Threatening Pride To Keep Job

Columbus City Schools
Columbus City Schools says hundreds of its teachers, students and staff participated in Columbus Pride.

The ACLU of Ohio is standing up for a Columbus City School employee who posted hateful comments against LGBTQ people and the city’s Pride Festival.

Chris Dodds works for the Columbus City school district’s garage. A post from his account used a slur to describe gay people and said they should be “killed or at least relocated.”

Credit Change.org

Columbus City Schools said it was working with police to address the comments, and said it had hundreds of teachers, students and allies participating in last weekend's parade.

"Columbus City Schools values and celebrates its diversity," the school said in a June 15 statement on Facebook. "We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind."

Elizabeth Burnham with the ACLU of Ohio finds these comments to be vile and hateful, but says Dodds should not lose his job because, in the end, it’s still protected free speech.

“What we shouldn’t do is give a power that we own over to the state and say, ‘You censor people that we don’t like now,’ because what we’ll see inevitable, time and again, is that later on that power that we’ve given away to the state is going to come back and be used against the most vulnerable people,” Dodds says.

Burnham believes hateful speech has been on the rise but argues that the answer is not to suppress it but to combat it with more, educational speech.