A TEACHER'S CLASSROOM SPEECH MAY BE PROTECTED BY THE FIRST AMENDMENT

In a case out of the Northern District of California, Sheldon v. Dhillon (N.D.Cal. Nov. 25, 2009), a court has held that teachers may enjoy First Amendment Protections for things they say in class. In Sheldon, a community college teacher alleged that she was terminated from her employment as a result of an in class discussion regarding heredity and homosexual behavior. While there was significant dispute over what was actually said during the class discussion, the court found that the teacher had First Amendment protections for her speech and cited to several other court decisions that held likewise, including decisions involving both college level and school age level teachers. However, the court cautioned that an employer could discipline an employee, despite any First Amendment concerns, if they could show that the discipline was “reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns.” The lesson seems to be that a teacher’s speech in the classroom is protected, but if teachers start saying things that might be clearly inaccurate or outside the scope of instructional speech, an employer may be able to discipline and that determination may be very fact specific.  

Trackbacks (0) Links to blogs that reference this article Trackback URL
http://educationlaw.foxrothschild.com/admin/trackback/177845
Comments (0) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Post A Comment / Question Use this form to add a comment to this entry.







Remember personal info?
Send To A Friend Use this form to send this entry to a friend via email.