4150: Freedom of Speech

The District’s personnel have the constitutional right to freedom of speech. The Board recognizes that no freedom is absolute, and that at least three sources of potential limitation to freedom of speech should be considered by all personnel:

I. Legal

The District can restrict freedom of speech provided the restriction is within legal limits. As a general rule, personnel will not be disciplined for speaking as a citizen upon matters of public concern unless that person’s interest in such speech is outweighed by the District’s reasonable belief that the speech would interfere with the educational process, undermine school authority, or disrupt close working relationships.

II. Societal

Communities vary in what they will tolerate in classroom discussion. Limits of such tolerance change with time and place. Differences of opinion between teachers and community feelings may be more a matter for tolerance of another’s opinion than a matter for court adjudication.

III. Professional

Employees and their organizations are responsible for making decisions on what effect insisting on the exercise of free speech, or accepting some degree of regulation thereof, will have both on their role as employees and on their ultimate effectiveness as an employee within the District.

The Board requests that any differences of opinion about the exercise or abridgment of free speech within or among members of the Board and employees be examined by all parties concerned in the light of the above three sources of potential limitation.

Date of Adoption
October 7, 1974
Date of Revision
August 3, 1992
January 22, 2001
Reaffirmed
August 11, 2008
December 15, 2014