Response to TOTSB post
Readers please read the link that TOTSB used to support her OPINION that school employers can limit employees First Amendment rights. I did read the entire article and it is an article, one person’s opinion. Eventho the author used many quotes and footnotes again; opinion. I post this quote:
Vigilance is necessary to ensure that public employers do not use
authority over employees to silence discourse, not because it
hampers public functions but simply because superiors disagree
with the content of employees’ speech.
— Justice Thurgood Marshall in Rankin v. McPherson
TOTSB states and I paraphrase: “that Dr. Cullen has the right to discipline the District’s employees” Yes, Superintendents do have the “right” to discipline employees, for certain things. But the real question is; is the action legal. I also reference the article,
The sheer number of public employees shows the importance of ensuring that First
Amendment rights are a living reality rather than abstract theory for government
workers. The Supreme Court long ago dismissed the notion that employees forfeit
their constitutional protections when they enter the public workplace. All employers, including public ones, wield great power over their employees. If an
employee fears being disciplined for speaking out on matters of public concern, he
or she may well keep quiet. Yet the fundamental purpose of the First Amendment is to ensure that “debate on public issues … be uninhibited, robust and wide-open.”
As Justice Brennan once stated: “The constitutionally protected right to speak out
on governmental affairs would be meaningless if it did not extend to statements
expressing criticism of governmental officials.” Public employees can contribute greatly to that civic debate. They are uniquely situated to speak out on important issues of which the average citizen is unaware. When public employees speak as citizens rather than as disgruntled workers, courts must respect their free-speech interests.
Justice O’Connor recognized this point when she wrote that “government
employees are often in the best position to know what ails the agencies for which
they work; public debate may gain much from their informed opinions.” This same principle applies in retaliation and patronage cases. When a public employer retaliates against an employee simply because it dislikes the content of his or her speech, other employees are discouraged from making comments that could be interpreted as critical. When a public employer disciplines a nonpolicy making employee because he or she supported a certain candidate or belongs to a certain political party, First Amendment free-association rights become meaningless to that worker. Government agencies must be particularly loath to terminate an employee for public speech unrelated to the job. Disciplining a public employee for writing a letter to the editor as a citizen concerned about a political issue raises clear First Amendment questions. When a public employee speaks about an important issue unrelated to the job, he or she should retain the same constitutional protections afforded the average citizen. Justice Brennan recognized this point when he wrote in his dissenting opinion in Connick that the Pickering balancing test “comes into play only when a public employee’s speech implicates the government’s interests as an employer.” While public employers must be able to ensure a productive and efficient workplace, as government entities they also are duty-bound to respect the Bill of Rights.
TOTSB states; “NOW, Ernie apparently isn’t doing enough”, that is right. Mr. Hudson is the President of the District School Board, one of his major responsibility is the management of the district’s taxpayer’s money. Maybe we should review the position description of a Board President.
The TOTSB also got it incorrect when she said, “they were all up in arms waiting to see who would be appointed THAT night.” It must be first noted she was not there, now a question was addressed to the Board President by a citizen. The question was, “(paraphrased) what will be the process for selecting the individual and for interested parties submitting their names?” Mr. Hudson provided NO response. TOTSB; we/I do know the procedures/policies, compare the policy and the current process. Does the published policy really state the process or did there need to be an answer, was the question proper?
What does ME wearing a red shirt have to do with seeking an answer from the President of the District School Board. Maybe it was a test to see if Mr. Hudson, the Board President, knew the process or policy. Guess; Board President—–0
Integrity in Leadership
The statement ““hand-picking” students”, isn’t there always processes/requirements? Classroom size, grades and other requirements to entering into most things.
Also Dr. Cullen has made it very clear that if a parent has an issue there is a process to have the issue addressed. Have the parents of the “left out” student addressed it with the District administration?