An East Texas school district is accused of terminating an art teacher for addressing the former’s use of tax dollars, according to a civil rights lawsuit filed Mar. 17 in Marshall federal court.

Gerald Boyd alleges in the complaint that Mount Pleasant Independent School District fired him in response to his claims its school board members were committing embezzlement, insisting his First Amendment rights were violated.

“The reports were such as to cause embarrassment and shame to the trustees, if indeed they are capable of embarrassment and shame,” the suit states.

Boyd purportedly became aware of “serious deficiencies in the facilities available to his students” during the course of his employment.

Court papers say the plaintiff attempted to rectify the situation internally to no avail and was prompted to go before the school board, as well as speak to the media.

“After doing so, he was terminated for having spoken publically on matters of public concern, to wit, waste of tax funds and mismanagement of the school district,” the original petition says.

Consequently, Boyd seeks unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

He is represented by attorneys Steven B. Thorpe and Carla S. Hatcher of the law firm Thorpe, Hatcher & Washington, PLLC in Dallas.

Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas Case No. 2:16-CV-0233

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