Steven Williams Case
AAsch at aol.com
AAsch at aol.com
Mon Dec 6 12:55:50 PST 2004
In a message dated 12/6/2004 12:21:11 PM Pacific Standard Time,
marty.lederman at comcast.net writes:
> In very brief: Under the "government speech" doctrine, a state may require
> its teachers, in their official capacities (i.e., while teaching), to hue to
> the state's prescribed curriculum. This is the majority view in the courts
> of appeals -- that there is no Free Speech Clause right of indivdual teachers
> to teach what they wish in the classroom -- although there is some recent
> caselaw going the other way (principally in the Sixth Circuit, IIRC).
The Ninth Circuit came to the same conclusion using a slightly different
analysis. In Peloza v. Capistrano Unified School District, 37 F.3d 517 (9th Cir.
1994), the court found that preventing a teacher from discussing religion with
his students did restrict his free speech rights, but that the state's
compelling interest in avoiding an Establishment Clause violation justified the
restriction. As the court wrote:
"The school district's restriction on Peloza's ability to talk with students
about religion during the school day is a restriction on his right of free
speech. Nevertheless, 'the Court has repeatedly emphasized the need for allowing
the comprehensive authority of the States and of school officials, consistent
with fundamental constitutional safeguards, to prescribe and control conduct
in the schools.' Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Community School Dist, 393 U.S.
503, 506-O7, 89 S.Ct. 733, 737, 21 L.Ed.2d 731 (1969). '[T]he interest of the
State in avoiding an Establishment Clause violation 'may be [a] compelling' one
justifying an abridgment of free speech otherwise protected by the First
Amendment....' Lamb's Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free School Dist., - U.S.,
113 S.Ct. 2141, 2148, 124 L.Ed.2d 352 (1993) (quoting Widmar v. Vincent, 454
U.S. 263, 271, 102 S.Ct. 269, 275, 70 L.Ed.2d 440 (1981)). This principle applies
in this case. The school district's interest in avoiding an Establishment
Clause violation trumps Peloza's right to free speech."
Full text of case available at this address:
erstwhile ACLU cooperating attorney
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