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25 October 2010

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tanita

This sucks - technically, they weren't silencing her First Amendment rights - she can ask that question on the street, of anyone, but if you're hired to support the curriculum that the school chooses, they can, from a legal perspective, certainly choose what you say.

I wouldn't have wanted that job back anyway, but it's humiliating not to have a contract renewed. ::sigh::

Leila

Yeah, I understand the whys of the outcome -- it was such an out-there situation that it made for really interesting reading. Maybe the assignment wouldn't have gotten as much flack if there'd only been a cherry-picked list of 10 to pick from, or something. But stuff like that is always easier in retrospect. Either way, it must've been awful to go through.

hope

I'd disagree that they aren't technically silencing her First Amendment rights. I see where they think they have a legal precedent, but I don't agree with their argument that it should trump public interest-- based on this very brief synopsis. I hope she can appeal. The idea that “the concept of ‘academic freedom’ … does not readily apply to in-class curricular speech at the high school level" makes me see red.

David T. Macknet

I'd say that, if they continue to attempt to push this higher (and I hope that they do), it may come down to the fact that the US Constitution only narrowly defines "protected citizen speech," preferring to interpret that as "political" speech. In this case, presenting students with the scenario of banned books as an exercise in political discourse might be accepted ... so long as the Supreme Court also allows that an English teacher is not in violation of her contractual obligations by discussing political matters in a course not specifically designated to do so (the "academic freedom" route).

In this case, it could be argued that her "job-duty" speech was to discuss literature, not to discuss politics. Thus, she's in a bit of a catch-22, in that the very exercise of her 1st ammendment rights (including the extended requirement of the Garcetti ruling), she has violated her contractual obligation to teach to a particular curriculum. Either she violated her contractual obligations, or she was not exercising her 1st ammendment rights as restricted by Garcetti.

I wonder whether any of the students were actually exposed to any of the literature in question, or whether they were simply asked to discuss the issue.

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GA

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