More public school educators are coming forward and standing up for their own rights and the rights of their students. Two educators in Grants Pass, Oregon, are suing their school district for silencing them after they engaged in speech on political and social matters while off duty. Now on appeal at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Southeastern Legal Foundation (SLF) filed an amicus brief supporting those brave educators.
Plaintiffs—a public school administrator and a public school science teacher—formed a grass roots movement advocating for the protection of students based on sex, the fundamental rights of parents to direct their children’s education, and the free speech rights of students and staff alike. They did so outside of the classroom, and in a way that was meant to speak to all individuals, regardless of their position on these sensitive matters.
But in retaliation, their school district took adverse employment action against the educators. Now they are suing to defend their freedom to engage in public debate on political and social matters outside of the classroom.
In its amicus brief, SLF explains that public employees do not shed their right to free speech at the schoolhouse gates. Teachers and administrators have special knowledge about issues that are important to the public, and they have every right to engage in discussions on those matters in their free time. This is especially true in the public school setting, which has long been viewed as the marketplace of ideas.