Metro School Board Member and Plaintiff Fran Bush Says Constitutional Lawsuit Against Former Superintendent Dr. Shawn Joseph is Still Pending


The lawsuit against former Metro Nashville Public Schools superintendent Dr. Shawn Joseph and the Metro government is still pending, one of the plaintiffs, a school board member, says.

Fran Bush is one of three MNPS school board members who are suing Joseph and the Metro government. The other plaintiffs are board members Jill Speering and Amy Frogge.

“It is still pending in court,” Bush told The Tennessee Star. “It is being heard by our attorney. Right now, it is looking like we will prevail.”

Their attorney is Daniel Horwitz.

The plaintiffs allege that a clause in Joseph’s severance agreement violates their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights, WSMV reports. The plaintiffs claim that they are not able to truthfully talk with constituents, with one another and with others, and that the clause does not allow for “truthful criticism” of Joseph.

Part of Joseph’s severance agreement includes a clause prohibiting the school board from making “any disparaging or defamatory comments regarding Dr. Joseph and his performance as Director of Schools.” Speering, Bush and Frogge voted against accepting the terms of the agreement. The motion still passed, 5-3.

The school board bought out Joseph’s contract in April 2019, The Star reported at the time. Terms included allowing Joseph to earn his normal salary through July 31, 2019 and cutting him a check for $261,250.

Bush told The Star that, “Under the law, you cannot silence or gag any elected official and violate our constitutional rights.”

She said Metro’s legal department knew the clause was allegedly illegal but they permitted the clause to be used.

“We do see a victory,” Bush said.

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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.
Photo “Fran Bush” by Fran Bush.





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6 Thoughts to “Metro School Board Member and Plaintiff Fran Bush Says Constitutional Lawsuit Against Former Superintendent Dr. Shawn Joseph is Still Pending”

  1. Johnny Efectivo

    So, Mayor Mini Cooper is fine with unconstitutionally silencing speech about a public figure?

    He sure encouraged BLM to speak with fires and bricks on Broadway.

  2. Kevin

    Well this is great, we have school board members suing school board members. If only the kids of Nashville got the outcome that Sambo got. But that’s now what will happen.

    Once again, a bunch of lawyers will make a killing and the citizens and the kids will end up paying the bill!

    1. 83ragtop50

      I do not read this to mean that board members are suing board members rather that board members are suing to void an alleged unlawful contractual provision. The real culprits here are the legal department that inserted the provision and the city administration that agreed to that provision. No public employee should be permitted to hide behind such a provision. They can always sue if false disparaging remarks are made about them.

  3. mikey whipwreck

    fran bush is now the only board member truly doing the people’s work. keep it up. he may be gone but the legacy of serial grifter S.J. remains.

  4. rick

    There are quite a few professional school directors that almost run a circuit in the country , going from big school system to another, writing up these big dollar contracts with no intention of staying the length of their contract or really performing the duties of their position. They are like professional con men and women. Shelby Co and Davidson both have been taken many times. I do not know if it was Berry or Briley that hired Joseph they were both idiots and now we have this political hack Cooper with Dr. Battle. Battle, the current director, is Cooper’s puppet and she better play his game or she will be gone. Sad for the children. Metro schools are a political football! Education is a low priority look at the test scores.

  5. Pissed Off Nashvillian

    The School Board may not be able to make disparaging or defamatory comments about Dr. Shawn Joseph, but I damn sure can! He’s a grifter just like Chief Ronal Serpas.