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Former West Fargo High School newspaper adviser opts not to sue district

The West Fargo teacher who was fired from advising the student newspaper won't sue the district. Since West Fargo High School teacher Jeremy Murphy was removed from the role last summer, he's considered pursuing litigation but has now decided not to.

Former West Fargo High School journalism instructor Jeremy Murphy
Former West Fargo High School journalism instructor Jeremy Murphy.
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The West Fargo teacher who was fired from advising the student newspaper won't sue the district.

Since West Fargo High School teacher Jeremy Murphy was removed from the role last summer, he's considered pursuing litigation but has now decided not to.

"There were a lot of reasons," the 29-year-old said Monday. "I really enjoy the staff that I work closely with. I see myself growing old in the district."

It's his fourth year in the district, where his wife, Tamara, also teaches.

Last summer, he was fired from advising the newspaper because, he said then, administrators didn't like the paper negatively portraying the district. Officials countered then that it wasn't due to content but a difference in philosophy.

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Now, the school board is working to draft specific job descriptions for co-curricular and extra-curricular jobs by spring.

"Maybe there's an understanding among staff that they don't know what they're accountable for," board President Tom Gentzkow said last summer, adding Monday that it will help clarify guidelines for the 60-plus positions.

A former Moorhead teacher was hired to advise the student newspaper. Murphy advises the yearbook staff and teaches English.

He also was recently recognized by New York-based Tully Center for Free Speech. Of the 11 journalists commended for fighting for free speech, he received the honorable mention award.

"It was a tough situation all around, and it's too bad that it had to happen like that," he said. "But the student, staff and parent support has been overwhelming and has really shown me how great of a place West Fargo can be."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kelly Smith at (701) 241-5515

Related Topics: WEST FARGO
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