The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit has ruled against Bryan Craig, who filed a lawsuit claiming his school retaliated against him for exercising his First Amendment rights.
Craig — who also coached girls’ basketball at Rich Central High School in suburban Chicago — got fired last year after self-publishing the racy advice book. That book contains “garden-variety” relationship advice as well as more explicit material, the Seventh Circuit opinion points out.
In his book the former guidance counselor admonishes women to give oral sex “without making the ‘ugh’ face” and to “say more ‘yes’ and a lot less ‘no.'”
“In another part of the book, Craig delves into a comparative analysis of the female genitalia of various races which goes into an excruciating degree of graphic detail,” the 7th Circuit opinion notes.
Perhaps the creepiest part of the book occurs when Craig occurs in the forward:
I coach girls basketball, work in an office where I am the only male counselor, and am responsible for 425 high school students a year, about half of whom are females. Suffice it to say, I have spent a considerable amount of time around, and with, the fairer sex.
Craig’s suit was already dismissed by a lower court, which held that “It’s Her Fault” didn’t address a matter of “public concern” and wasn’t entitled to First Amendment protection.
The 7th Circuit affirmed the dismissal but did so for a different reason. The appeals court actually found the book did address a matter of public concern, noting the “proliferation of advice columns dealing with precisely this topic is a testament to its newsworthiness.”
But the appeals court ruled Craig’s suit should still be dismissed because the school’s interest in restricting Craig’s speech outweighed his First Amendment rights. Craig’s “professed inability to refrain from sexualizing females” might make some female students loath to get advice from him, the 7th Circuit ruled.
“If Craig fails to create the appropriate environment for his students,” the court ruled, “they will not approach him and he cannot do his job.”
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