Teachers, Trump, & The First Amendment

Sadly, in this case, there is always an eduangle. On Twitter The Mind Trust’s Brandon Brown asks a question some people have been wondering about,

A recent New York Times story on the insurrection included this,

“I’m not going in there, but, yeah, I’m kind of OK with it,” said Lisa Todd, 56, a high school teacher from Raleigh, N.C. She was standing with three friends, all fellow teachers.

And a Pennsylvania teacher was suspended for attending the event – it’s unclear if he was inside the Capitol or just at the protest on the Mall. This maskless lady below is a school occupational therapist – or was, she apparently resigned and has been arrested. Her sign seems to reference kids…

That seems like a key distinction. No, not the kids part. The showing up for the rally versus storming the Capitol part. Entering the Capitol by force is a crime, as is planning to do so. So all that is a violation of common language in teachers’ employment agreements. Hate speech or belonging to hate groups is another unprotected activity for public school and public charter school teachers.

But just showing up a political rally, no matter how noxious you or I may find it (and I do), is less straightforward and gets squarely into First Amendment political speech terrain. Teachers have diminished First Amendment rights in relation to some aspects of their job but they don’t lose their rights as citizens altogether. And that, as Ms. Todd put it, we have to be kind of OK with…

(Photo via DC Police)

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