Friday, May 11, 2007


Court Ruling on Free Speech for Teachers

One of the tacks taken by creationists at the Discovery Institute and the Intelligent Design Network has been to claim that requiring teachers to stick to the curriculum when it comes to evolution violates their freedom of speech and academic freedom.

When the newly elected, moderate Kansas school board voted creationism out of the science curriculum earlier this year, for example, John Calvert hinted that a suit based on academic freedom or freedom of speech might be forthcoming.

However, a unanimous ruling in Lee v. York County School Division by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that public school officials have wide latitude to control what teachers do in the classroom.

The court noted that "the right to free speech in the public school setting it not unfettered and pointed out that school officials may curb speech that conflicts with the school’s educational mission," according to the Americans United for Separation of Church and State Wall of Separation blog.

The case involved William Lee, a Spanish teacher at Tabb High School in Yorktown, not far from Dover, who posted a newsletter from a Christian missionary group, a poster depicting George Washington praying at Valley Forge and articles from local newspapers about religious activities by government officials on the bulletin board in his classroom.

Hat tip to Marie.


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