Friday, July 30, 2010

School boards ask federal judges to block employee free speech

Lawyers from the National Council of School Attorneys seem to have talked the School Boards Association into fighting the First Amendment. These lawyers have a tendency to badmouth students and employees who sue schools that caused harm to them, but it's the school lawyers that are the premier practitioners of lawsuit abuse.

School boards ask federal judges to block employee free speech
July 30, 2010
Corey G. Johnson
California WatchBlog

School boards are trying to reverse a federal court ruling banning administrators from controlling the free-speech rights of teachers and other school employees.

According to a brief filed yesterday in 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) and the California School Boards Association (CSBA) argue that public K to 12 schools need discretion to regulate their employees’ expressions in the workplace.

“Public-school officials need authority over what teachers say and do in the classroom,” said NSBA Executive Director Anne L. Bryant in a press release. “Nearly every teacher posts artwork and other materials on their walls, and schools have a responsibility to ensure those materials are appropriate for students.”

The case stems from an incident in Poway Unified School District. According to published reports, Principal Dawn Kastner of Westview High School asked teacher Bradley Johnson to remove banners he posted around his classroom with the phrases: "In God we trust," "One nation under God," "God bless America," "God shed his grace on thee" and "All men are created equal, they are endowed by their creator."

Johnson claims the school violated his First Amendment free-speech rights and contradicted an internal policy that allowed teachers to display messages and items in their classrooms “that reflect the individual teacher’s personality, opinions and values, as well as messages relating to matters of political, social and religious concerns, so long as these displays do not materially disrupt school work or cause substantial disorder or interference in the classroom.”

In February, a federal judge agreed with Johnson, saying the district had practiced viewpoint discrimination...

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