William Kritsonis, School Law, Ch 6 Freedom of Expression - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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William Kritsonis, School Law, Ch 6 Freedom of Expression


William Allan Kritsonis, School Law, Ch 6 Freedom of Expression of Employees – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: William Kritsonis, School Law, Ch 6 Freedom of Expression

Public School Law William Allan Kritsonis, PhD
  • Freedom of Speech is entrenched in our United
  • States Constitution with the addition of the
  • of Rights.
  • Speech and the freedom thereof were and still
  • is such an important component that the
  • forefathers and thus Framers of the
  • placed it in the first amendment of the Bill of
  • Rights.

What degree of free speech do employees have?
  • Do Teachers have the rights of free speech?
  • To what degree of autonomy do teachers have and
    what are the repercussions?
  • Should teachers not adhere to decorum?

First Amendment
  • Congress shall make no law respecting an
    establishment of religion, or prohibiting the
    free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom
    of speech, or of the press or the right of the
    people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the
    Government for a redress of grievances.

Fourteenth Amendment
  • All persons born or naturalized in the United
    States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof,
    are citizens of the United States and of the
    State wherein they reside. No State shall make or
    enforce any law which shall abridge the
    privileges or immunities of citizens of the
    United States nor shall any State deprive any
    person of life, liberty, or property, without due
    process of law nor deny to any person within its
    jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Equal Protection and Due Process
  • States do have to be subordinate and subservient
    to Federal guidelines, especially in the arena of
    Equal Protection and Due Process.

Pickering v. Board of Education
  • US Supreme Court ruling overturning both local
    school board and lower court decision.
  • This specific case involved a teacher who was
    dismissed from his job for sending a letter
    critical of the school board to a local
  • This specific case asserted the precedent that
    some aspects of speech are protected.

Pickering v. Board of Education cont.
  • Although the case did protect certain aspects of
    speech it did not state that teachers have
    unrestricted rights of expression.
  • Justice Thurgood Marshall in writing the opinion
    for the court stated has interests as an
    employer in regulating the speech of its
    employees that differ significantly from those it
    possesses in connection with regulation of the
    speech of the citizenry in general.

Nieto v. San Perlita I.S.D
  • The Nieto case involved a supervisor that was
    fired after making allegations that a coach was
    abusing students.
  • The court ruled that Nietos speech was of public
    concern but the public interest was outweighed by
    the districts interest in promoting the public
    services it performs.
  • Nietos dismissal was upheld.

Connick v. Myers
  • This Supreme Court case handed down a ruling
    based on a case of expression in New Orleans.
  • An assistant district attorney was terminated
    after being informed that she would be
    transferred and then she circulated a
    questionnaire addressing office operations and

Connick v. Myers cont.
  • A federal district court and a court of appeals
    ruled in favor of Myers.
  • Reversing the decision the high court ruled that
    an employees speech is protected when an
    employee speaks as a citizen on matters of public
    concern but not when he/she only speaks of matter
    of personal interest.

Protected Speech Three Part Test
  • 1.) The speech must have involved a matter of
    public concern.
  • 2.) The public employees interest in commenting
    on matters of public concern must outweigh the
    employers interest in promoting efficiency.
  • 3.) The third prong of the test is based on
    causation the employees speech must have
    motivated the decision to discharge the employee.
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