ERIC Number: ED443165
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-May
Reference Count: N/A
School Board Meetings and the First Amendment.
Pickrell, Thomas W.
Inquiry & Analysis, May 2000
This article reviews some of the First Amendment issues that school boards and their legal counsel often encounter during a school board meeting. The discussion necessarily begins with a brief review of the public forum doctrine, under which is included the traditional public forum, the designated public forum, and the nonpublic forum. The article discusses the school board meeting as a public forum. In a designated public forum, school boards must be wary of three types of content-based exclusions: criticism of school officials, selection of subjects, and selection of speakers. The article also lists time, place, and manner restrictions. The presiding officer and members of a school board should understand that, if the public is invited to comment upon an agenda item or any matter within the school district's jurisdiction, a public forum is created. In a public forum, the school board can request patrons to use alternative channels to criticize school employees, but a prohibition on such comments is invalid. Rules that exclude narrow categories of speakers or subjects are also suspect and should be avoided. The issue also includes case notes concerning free speech, religion, special education, employment rights, Equal Access Act, and vouchers. Supreme Court decisions are reviewed as well. (DFR)
Descriptors: Boards of Education, Community Action, Court Litigation, Educational Vouchers, Elementary Secondary Education, Equal Education, Family School Relationship, Freedom of Speech, Meetings, Public Schools, Religion, School Community Relationship, School Policy, Special Classes
National School Boards Association Council of School Attorneys, 1680 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 (subscription $80/6 issues); Tel: 703-838-6722; Web site: http://www.nsba.org/cosa.
Publication Type: Collected Works - Serials; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: National School Boards Association, Alexandria, VA. Council of School Attorneys.
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: First Amendment