A petty tyrant and a parent’s nightmare

Wenk v. O’Reilly, No. 14-3334 (6th Cir. Apr. 15, 2015).

Grandview Heights High School, the site of this case’s events

Grandview Heights High School, the site of this case’s events

Peter and Robin Wenk allege that Nancy Schott, an administrator at their intellectually disabled daughter’s school, falsely reported that Peter was sexually abusing his daughter. The Wenks allege that Schott made this false report to retaliate against Peter because he had advocated that changes be made to his daughter’s individualized education program.  

If the Wenks are believed—as they must be at this stage—Schott took stray comments from two of their daughter’s teachers, exaggerated some of them and fabricated others, and then reported them to child services. The police investigated Peter but determined that the allegations against him were unfounded. 

The Wenks now assert a First Amendment retaliation claim against Schott. The district court upheld that claim on summary judgment. The Sixth Circuit affirms, holding that the Wenks have made out a valid claim that Schott violated clearly established law.