Sioux Falls Catholic Schools attack teacher’s 1st Amendment rights

I will have to commend the local media who have decided to cover this very important story. But let’s make no mistake, while the story is partially about gay rights, equality, employee rights, religious freedom and quite honestly, reality, the bigger story is that this teacher’s 1st Amendment rights were spit on by her employer;

“It was very evident that everybody that I talked to at the school cared a lot about their students, regardless of their orientation,” Hickman said. “But it seemed that once I put something on my personal social media, that’s when it became a problem.”

Employee contracts aside and the Catholic’s church stance on homosexuality, this is about a bigger issue; the rights of an American citizen to express their view on any topic outside of work without being pressured by their employer to STFU!

Three months later, she says she was called into a meeting at O’Gorman and was asked to take the post down.

“I left that meeting stating I don’t feel comfortable doing anything about the post when I don’t understand why you’re asking me to do this,” Hickman said.

She then received a letter from Kyle Groos, President of the Bishop O’Gorman schools. It says Hickman’s post ‘promotes beliefs about lifestyle and sexuality that are inconsistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church.’

This is close to my heart, being politically involved as I am, many employers I have had struggled with my private political life. I had to remind them that my private life and my political beliefs were none of their business, and I must have been successful, because none of them terminated me because of it, some actually defended me, and I only quit one job because of it (lead usher at the Washington Pavilion).

NO EMPLOYER can fire an employee for their personal beliefs outside of work. It is a blatant violation of their 1st Amendment rights. And while Ukrainians fight for their sovereignty I am reminded that we live in an incredible FREE nation and no one can take that away from us. Bravo to Rachel Hickman for taking a stance. Our rights as free citizens should never be questioned or punished, that is called fascism, because last I checked we live in a free country and the SFCS should be ashamed and admonished, especially an institution that is educating young adults.


#1 Very Stable Genius on 03.02.22 at 10:37 pm

Did the teacher contract govern outside employment activities? If so, is that contract enforceable? But, then again, people contract their rights away all of the time.

We may not like what happen here, but people need to read the fine print and what they sign-off on.

I do agree with her policy position here and believe people should not shun from voicing their opinions, but a contract is a contract. Unless it is illegal, but was it?

I also do not think her 1st Amendment rights have been violated here, because she got to say it and she can still say it. If others do not want to associate with her because of it, well, that’s their right, and they apparently have a contract to justify it.

The real question here, however, is whether a church, an organized religion, can take a public political position and still maintain their tax exemption. And it became public the day they challenged her on it, and thus, it became possible that a public airing of the matter would materialize.

What about abortion? Ya, what about abortion and the Catholic Church. When a church tells you who to vote for, and I know for a fact that this has happen in Catholic and Protestant churches, can, or should, they still have their tax exemptions?

So take away the tax exemptions, or threaten to do so, and will see what, if any, contracts will then be enforced by our churches.

#2 "Woodstock" on 03.03.22 at 8:20 am

“Ya, take away their tax exemptions!”…. “That’s kind what we are doing to Putin right now”…. (“‘Putin & the Pope'”…. “Come to think of that, that would make a great book and or movie”… ) “…..

#3 Anthony Renli on 03.03.22 at 8:41 am

First of all – I think it is pretty shitty what they did and I don’t think that she should have been fired, but…

No, they did not violate her First Amendment Rights The First Amendment can ONLY be violated by the government.
Ask the ACLU.
The Catholic Church is not the government and therefore, THEY can’t commit a violation of any of the clauses of the first amendment.
Read the text of the First Amendment, it explicitly states that “Congress Shall Not…” This has been interpreted broadly that the Government and it’s agencies shall not by the supreme court, but it absolutely does NOT apply to any non-governmental body.

Second, YES businesses can (legally) fire you for personally held beliefs that you EXPRESS outside of the business.
If you were to publish something that was protected speech, but that your boss didn’t like (anything from personal insults to a Pro-NAMBLA blog post), while also making sure that your name and the name of your business or the customers of your business are easily findable on your blog or social media, and you WILL be fired.
And no court in the country would say that the firing wasn’t justified.

Freedom of Speech only protects us from Government actions. It doesn’t protect you from the actions of any non-governmental agency.

#4 l3wis on 03.03.22 at 9:11 am

I stand corrected. She did quit and was not fired. I still disagree with employers telling you what you can do outside of work.

#5 Anthony Renli on 03.03.22 at 9:38 am

I agree they SHOULDN’T tell people what to do outside of work. This is a case where what is legal and what is RIGHT are two different things.

It sucks, but your personally held beliefs are not a protected class. You can’t be fired for being pregnant or saying “I am Pregnant” (assuming that this is true) because it’s a protected class.

You absolutely could be fired for saying “I think more/less people should get pregnant” or “I think Donald Trump is/isn’t a doo-doo head poopy butt” or “I’m really hoping the Royals beat the Twins every time they play this year.”
Even the ACLU agrees that there is VERY little protected speech as it applies to private entities.
Combine this with being in an “At-Will Employment” state…your speech outside of work hours CAN get you fired.

#6 D@ily Spin on 03.03.22 at 10:17 am

You’re shallow if you can’t accept sexual and racial differences. Ive been surprised by many of my acquaintances who react sharply. I dated a black woman. She was special. It disturbed me how we were treated. I went to a club in Dallas called ‘The Plantation’. A friend was an actress with gay and transgender friends. There were many types and kinds at this club. What I noticed is everyone accepts everyone. I felt equally if not more comfortable there than at a meat market singles bar. It amazes me how priests rule against our modern culture. Abusing altar boys is their creepiness. Yet, they can’t accept LGBT or other than Italian.

#7 AKC on 03.03.22 at 9:17 pm

You write a political blog and you don’t understand there 1st amendment? JFC

#8 The Guy From Guernsey on 03.04.22 at 11:25 am

Meanwhile, could the seminaries, monasteries and rectories of the Catholic church be considered as the oringinal source of “don’t ask; don’t tell”?

#9 l3wis on 03.04.22 at 12:26 pm

You know why the Catholic Church is against gay marriage? Because priests are not allowed to get married.

#10 Mike Lee Zitterich on 03.04.22 at 12:36 pm

People who are upset over this, should probally understand Amendment 1 of the U.S Constitution, Article 6, Sections 1 and 2 of the South Dakota Constitution, as well as South Dakota Codified Law Chapter 20 Right’s and Obligations as well as South Dakota Codified Law Chapter 53 Contracts.

As a few stated above, whatever you ‘agree’ to as part of any contract, shall be protected within the jurisdictional means of the contract, whereas as a party to that contract, you have the ‘right’ to or not to, of obligating yourself to any such terms prescribed in writing within that contract. You also have the right to “Reserve” any of your natural right to Life, Liberty, Prosperity, Property, Free Speech, Religious Beliefs, Healthcare/Medical beliefs, while as per Federal Law, which becomes party to that contract when you include forms W-4 or W-9 – that employer or individual paying you therefore agrees to honor people based on Race, Sex, Creed, Gender, etc.

You have the “Right to Work” freely in South Dakota despite whatever some form of Labor Union, Association, or Person may or may not believe. Yes, Employers reserve the right to fire you under terms stated in the contract, but at the same time, you have the Right to not obligate yourself to such terms so long as both parties commonly agree to such reservation of rights.

It comes down to how well you understand how to apply the LAW to your situation, let alone utilize the Constitution in order to protect your best interest.

#11 NTNLIQ on 03.04.22 at 5:38 pm

We “sure” are LUCKY that ‘we’ have MIKE to explain “things” to us.