The MCLU filed suit in federal court today to protect the free speech rights of Ellen Decotiis, a speech-language therapist whose contract with the State was terminated after she spoke out about the overly complex regulations governing eligibility for speech therapy.
Ms. Decotiis, the former President of the Maine Speech-Language Hearing Association, has devoted her life and her career to helping children learn to read and speak.
cares about children with learning problems, and she
has never been someone to leave her
concerns at the office," said MCLU cooperating attorney
"When the state developed new confusing regulations about eligibility, Ellen
urged parents to speak with legal experts about their right to treatment.
That isn't just constitutionally-protected free speech-it is also the right thing to do."
This recent incident is not the first time that the government has sought to silence Ms. Decotiis
In 1997, during Ms. Decotiis's
tenure as President of the Maine Speech-Language Hearing Association
advocated for legislative and regulatory changes to the Child Development Services system.
was then told that her
contract would not be renewed, because she
had developed an "adversarial relationship" with CDS and because she
was "testifying too much.
After the MCLU
threatened a lawsuit, Ms. Decotiis
In fall 2008, the MCLU
wrote a letter to the State, requesting that Ms. Decotiis
be reinstated and paid her
The State refused.