Kurt Dennis sues DPS, alleging district violated First Amendment | #schoolsaftey

Supporters of former McAuliffe International School Principal Kurt Dennis hold a rally outside the Denver Public Schools Board of Education headquarters just prior to the public comment portion of a board meeting downtown on August 21, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. Dennis had been fired from the school earlier in the year. (Photo By Kathryn Scott/Special to The Denver Post)

McAuliffe International School Principal Kurt Dennis (Photo via Denver Public Schools)

Kurt Dennis, the former principal of McAuliffe International School, on Tuesday sued Denver Public Schools, alleging that the district retaliated against him for speaking publicly about safety policies following the March shooting at East High School.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Denver, alleges DPS, Superintendent Alex Marrero and six members of the school board violated Dennis’s First Amendment right to free speech by firing the former principal after he spoke in a televised news interview about the district’s policy requiring educators to check students for weapons.

The interview followed the shooting at East in which a teen undergoing such a search shot and wounded two administrators — and it came as parents, educators and others in the community were criticizing DPS’s discipline policies and response to school safety.

Dennis’s termination in July drew further outcry from parents, who called on the district to reinstate him. 

But district officials have said the former principal shared confidential student information during his news interview and the school board voted last month to approve his termination.

Only one board member — Scott Baldermann — voted against the termination. Baldermann is also the only board member not named in the lawsuit.

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