North Carolina teacher sues school that fired him for teaching ‘viewpoint diversity’

A high school teacher is suing the school that fired him after he opposed radical ideologies such as Critical Race Theory.

David Phillips spent eight years teaching at North Carolina’s Governor’s School, a summer program for gifted high school seniors. But in 2021, he was unceremoniously fired for teaching the “principles of free inquiry and viewpoint diversity.”

“I could see that the social and political shifts that have pushed critical race theory, gender identity, and other progressive philosophies to the forefront of our culture were beginning to dominate the Governor’s School’s faculty and curriculum,” Phillips wrote in The Carolina Journal.  

Such progressive philosophies were detailed in his lawsuit against the school, its administration, and North Carolina’s Department of Public Instruction (DPI).  

Other staff-led events and seminars included events exclusive to LGBT members or people of color. There were seminars on drag culture, heteronormativity in pop culture, Marxist theory, and even a seminar on cultural appropriation entitled, “Dear White People . . . Get Out.”  

Governor’s School adopted radical ideology, such as the idea that “racism can only be committed by white people” and “any unequal outcomes are presumptively assumed to be the result of systemic racism,” the suit says. 

Phillips decided to challenge students to consider alternative viewpoints.  

“My intention was not and has never been to persuade students to adopt my own beliefs,” he wrote. “What I intend is that they should challenge their own presumptions, experience other points of view, and draw their own reasonable conclusions from thoughtful analysis so they will see the value in diversity of thought.”  

Prior to his termination, Phillips received glowing performance reviews as a “wonderful teacher” who helps students “explore their personal beliefs and opinions about significant social ideas and concepts in a safe and respectful environment.”  

Despite having given similar lectures in prior years, the lawsuit claims Phillips was attacked by both students and staff on account of his “whiteness, maleness, heterosexuality, and Christianity.”  

The following day he was fired and given no reason for his termination.  

Now, he is suing for damages and to be reinstated in his old position at the school.  

“No teacher should be fired for offering a reasoned critique of critical theory,” said Hal Frampton, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom and Phillip’s attorney. “By firing him, the Governor’s School violated his constitutional right to free speech and unlawfully retaliated against him for deviating from the Governor’s School’s ideological orthodoxy.”