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ERIC Number: ED524149
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 23
Principals and Teachers as Public Figures: Where Duty Ends and Rights Begin. A Legal Memorandum: Quarterly Law Topics for School Leaders. Vol. 7, No. 2, Winter 2007
Kallio, Brenda; Geisel, Richard
National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)
Public schools are unique environments where the rights and responsibilities of one individual or group can easily, if unintentionally, infringe on the rights and responsibilities of other individuals or groups. This can leave public school employees wondering about the nature and scope of their rights. While it is well established that public school employees do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate ("Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District", 1969), courts have also held that the rights of public school employees are not coextensive with the rights of adults in other settings ("Daugherty v. Vanguard Charter School Academy", 2000). Frequently, the courts have been called upon to balance the rights of the individual public school employee against the rights of the employer, the students, the parents, or the general public. Some of the more common issues that influence this balancing act include the employer's need to promote a productive learning environment as well as a harassment-free work environment; the unique position that educators have to influence a captive, young, impressionable audience; and whether certain actions by public employees actually convey the imprimatur of state action. Various federal court decisions have addressed the rights and limitations of public school employees to engage in traditional First Amendment-protected activities while in the scope of their employment. This issue of "A Legal Memorandum" takes a look at these cases. (Contains 1 figure.)
National Association of Secondary School Principals. 1904 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1537. Tel: 800-253-7746; Tel: 703-860-0200; Fax: 703-620-6534; Web site:
Publication Type: Collected Works - Serial; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: Administrators
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Association of Secondary School Principals
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: First Amendment