Teachers Ordered by Obama-Appointed Judge to Pay $300K after Defying CRT Training

“The point of it is to chill speech,” says plaintiffs’ attorney.

An Obama-appointed federal judge ordered two Missouri teachers to pay over $300,000 in legal fees to their school district which forced them to undergo diversity training.

Brooke Henderson, a teacher of 20 years who brought the lawsuit against the school, claimed the mandatory “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) training encouraged her to believe that America is systemically racist.

“If we believed in a colorblind America, [it told us] that we are White supremacists, and it really just felt like there was no hope and that the wheels had come off the bus of what our job as educators was,” she said.

Henderson claimed the training told school district employees to place themselves in an “oppression matrix,” called for socio-economic changes and asked teachers to share private information.

The teachers were only seeking $1 in damages and were focused on convincing the judge to rule that the diversity training was unconstitutional.

“It absolutely did violate my constitutional rights because I was not allowed to speak my own opinion, and if I did, then I would be told I was wrong or I would be called racist. I had to locate myself on the oppression matrix, and no matter where I located myself, based on the color of my skin being white, I automatically fell into that racist category,” she said.

“So if you tried to speak up, then you were dismissed and you were told that you were wrong. If you didn’t attend the training, then you potentially had your pay docked, you did not receive credit. I was worried that I would be written up or, even worse, fired,” she added.

But federal district Judge Douglas Harpool, a frequent Democrat donor who was appointed by former President Obama in 2014, awarded the school district $313,000 in attorney fees instead, claiming they should not have been forced to defend their diversity training.

The ruling shocked the plaintiffs.

“It’s absolutely excessive,” Southeastern Legal Foundation general counsel Kimberly Hermann, who represented the plaintiffs, told Fox News’ “Fox & Friends First” on Thursday, adding the ruling was “unprecedented.”

“The point of it is to chill speech,” Hermann said. “This is a First Amendment case in the first place where our clients were required to attest and affirm to ideas they just simply don’t believe in. They believe that America should be colorblind. They believe that they should not have to look at the color of the student’s skin, and that’s all that they were fighting for.”

Fortunately, Henderson is still employed at her school, and has appealed the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

“I have been very blessed. I still have my job. And you know, it’s a job that I absolutely love to do. I’ve been an educator for well over 20 years. I’ve worked with students with disabilities,” Henderson said.

“So in this situation, I was blessed that I had a legal team that came in there — they are amazing — that could help me. And so at this time, I still have my job. And I hope that I can keep it, because I love getting to make a difference in kids’ lives,” she added.

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