In our Brave New World of social networking, IM, Skype and the blogosphere ,the ability of teachers to “speak” to their students, parents and colleagues knows no bounds. The number and frequency of teacher blogs seems to grow daily.
Does the First Amendment protect teachers from principal retribution for comments made on the range of Internet platforms? Does the First Amendment protect teachers from comments made directly to principals? to students? from comments made at public meetings?
The courts divide teacher speech in two categories, “protected” and “unprotected” speech.
There is considerable case law re teacher freedom of speech outside the classroom. In landmark decisionPickering v Board of Education (1968) the US Supreme Court wrote,
Free and open debate is vital to informed decision-making by the electorate. Teachers are, as a class, the members of a community most likely to have informed and definite opinions … operation…
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