ERIC Number: EJ1018716
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Oct
Thou Shall Not Do What Thou Wants
Eckes, Suzanne E.
Principal Leadership, v14 n2 p8-10 Oct 2013
Imagine a teacher who posted pictures of their favorite presidential candidate during the election season or a teacher who displayed a poster with the tenets of Scientology in the classroom. At issue in those scenarios is the extent to which teachers' expression in the classroom is protected by the First Amendment. This column focuses on a recent 9th Circuit Court of Appeals case that addressed whether a math teacher in San Diego was allowed to hang religious banners in the classroom. In "Johnson v. Poway Unified School District" (2011), it was noted that school officials permitted teachers to decorate their classroom with posters that included various messages. Although some teachers displayed posters of the Beatles, others displayed pictures of Mahatma Gandhi or the Dalai Lama. The math teacher involved in this case displayed two very large banners in his classroom. The first banner used the mottoes "In God we trust," "One nation under God," "God bless America," and "God shed his grace on thee." The second banner included a phrase adapted from the Declaration of Independence that "All men are created equal, they are endowed by their Creator" with the word "Creator" in all capital letters. When the school district required him to remove the banners for fear of religious entanglement, the teacher argued that his right to free speech under the First Amendment had been violated, among other claims.
Descriptors: Freedom of Speech, School Policy, Religious Factors, Court Litigation, Principals, Visual Aids
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: http://www.principals.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: First Amendment; Hazelwood School District v Kuhlmeier; Pickering v Board of Education
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A