“Teachers are as a class the members of a community most likely to have
informed and definite opinions as to how funds allotted
to the operation of the schools should be spent.
Accordingly, it is essential that they be able to speak out freely on such
questions without fear of retaliatory dismissal.”

Pickering v. Board of Education, United States Supreme Court, 1968

As Albert Einstein said, “The strength of the Constitution lies entirely in the determination of each citizen to defend it.” However for public employees, especially public school teachers, they often discover that when they criticized their school system, they experience retaliation. It happened to Maggi Hall, beginning with a simple letter to the editor of her local newspaper. Little did Hall realize she would one day become a whistleblower and that her complaints criticizing her school district’s inappropriate expenditure of funds would result in harassment, intimidation, the longest public hearing for a state employee in South Carolina and eventually ending with her termination. After sending her superintendent requests for financial records by invoking the Freedom of Information Act, Dr. Foil released the following ad in the newspaper. Though Hall’s name wasn’t mentioned everyone knew who it was aimed to silence. On May 29, 1991 the Superintendent of Marion School District II, Marion, South Carolina kept his promise:

, in Heaven's name
WORK for him. If he pays you wages which supply
you bread and butter, work for him; speak well of him;
stand by him and stand by the institutions he represents.
If put to a pinch, an ounce of loyalty is worth a pound
of cleverness. If you must vilify, condemn and eternally
disparage—resign your position, and when you are
outside damn to your heart’s content, but as long as
you are part of the institution do not condemn it.
If you do that, you are loosening the tendrils that are
holding you to that institution, and at the first high wind
that comes along, you will be uprooted and blown away,
and probably will never know the reason why.
Paid for with private funds by Bill and his two friends.

© Maggi Smith Hall
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