wjxt logo

DCPS to consider settlement in teacher’s BLM flag lawsuit

Amy Donofrio listed among teachers who were ‘not reappointed’ for upcoming year

Amy Donofrio during an interview with News4Jax. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – During its meeting on Tuesday night, the Duval County Public Schools board is scheduled to vote on a settlement agreement in a civil case brought against the district by one of its teachers, Amy Donofrio.

The details of the agreement were not included in the meeting’s agenda and Donofrio’s attorney told News4Jax that she was prohibited from discussing the terms of the deal.

“The potential settlement was reached in good faith by representatives of the Plaintiffs and Defendants at a mediation and was thereafter discussed at a properly noticed litigation shade meeting on July 20, 2021,” the agenda item notes. “The Board is being called upon to determine whether the Board Chair is authorized to execute the settlement agreement on behalf of the Board.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center and Donofrio filed the lawsuit against DCPS in April, claiming the district retaliated against the Robert E. Lee High School teacher and violated her right to free speech.

Donofrio had been reassigned to paid, non-teaching duties while the district investigates what it described as “several matters” related to allegations of misconduct. The reassignment followed her refusal to remove a Black Lives Matter flag that had been hanging outside her classroom for months.

The district claims that the BLM flag violates its policy prohibiting teachers from advocating for social or political causes, but Donofrio and her attorneys claim such a rule is unconstitutional and represents discrimination.

The district has maintained that it is unable to comment on pending litigation and that its internal investigation of Donofrio is “active and ongoing.”

However, Donofrio is listed among the teachers that did not receive a re-appointment to her previously assigned school, now named Riverside High School. So, her future with the district is unclear.

News4Jax has requested a copy of the settlement agreement and did not receive an immediate reply from the district.

About the Author:

Joe covers education and breaking news. He is a frequent contributor to the News4Jax I-team and Trust Index coverage.