ERIC Number: ED473366
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Protected Classroom Speech of Public School Teachers: Pickering and Its Progeny.
Hyman, Ronald T.
The concept of academic freedom originated in situations related to higher education. Although academic freedom may apply to professors, it is far from clear how, and even why, academic freedom applies to classroom K-12 teachers. This paper treats the balancing of teacher and school district rights in suits brought by teachers who claimed that their school districts retaliated against them, thereby violating the teachers' First Amendment academic-freedom rights. Analysis starts by describing current legal aspects of teacher in-class free speech, including significant court decisions, such "Pickering versus the Board of Education,""Connick versus Myers," and "Cockrel versus Shelby County School District" ("Cockrel II," which is still awaiting trial). Courts across the country are split as to which decision they base their judgments on because each decision is based on a different interpretation of teachers' rights, engendering the use of different trains of logic to arrive at a reasonable conclusion. Boards of education and professional educators' organizations must continuously discuss the tension between appropriate board control and appropriate teacher expression of diverse viewpoints. Teachers will become sensitized to legitimate issues in their communities by way of ongoing professional inservice discussions. They should also become notified about legitimate local proscriptions. (RT)
Descriptors: Academic Freedom, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Controversial Issues (Course Content), Court Litigation, Critical Thinking, Elementary Secondary Education, Federal Courts, Freedom of Speech, Public School Teachers, State Courts, Student Rights, Teacher Administrator Relationship, Teacher Rights
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A