Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Politics In The Classroom, A Free Speech Issue

EIA has what I consider an extremely reasonable view about "politics in the classroom" (third point in this week's Communique):

The United Federation of Teachers filed a federal lawsuit after the New York City Department of Education directed principals to enforce a ban on political buttons or signs in the classroom.

It might surprise some of you to know that I support the union's position. Free speech should never be limited without evidence of direct, serious and negative consequences arising from its exercise. Knowing that a teacher supports Obama might make a student annoyed or uncomfortable, but I think that's a small price to pay.

I wonder, though, how quickly UFT would have defended free speech if the buttons in question read, "Abortion Is Murder," or "Decertify the UFT." Is all speech free or only speech with which the union agrees?
I have added the boldface above for emphasis.

1 comment:

allen (in Michigan) said...

Rights have all sorts of reasonable limitations one of which is that an employer can set all sorts of rules on their premises to accommodate the requirements of the enterprise. Overt displays of political partisanship by district employees could certainly get in the way of the business of the school district in a variety of ways.

Mike Antonnuci is just, plain wrong on this one.