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free speech and teachers


Date: Mon Apr 28 2003 - 12:31:35 PDT

Some of you on the list have kindly helped me with my various
questions about censorship and art education.
It seems an opportune time to remind all of you that freedom of
speech (in art we might say freedom of expression. First Amendment
law applies to both terms) is limited in schools for both teachers
and students.
You can go online to read about Supreme Court decisions affecting
free speech in education. Use Google to look at Hazelwood and Pico.
These decisions have been broadly interpreted. I am presently
corresponding with a lawyer whose firm defended a teacher who
permitted a conversation to go on in a classroom that offended a
student. The teacher was fired and the law firm defending the
teacher lost the case (It's on appeal).
Sometimes the list debates the question: artist/teacher or
My research with teachers of art and teachers of teachers of art
have indicated, once you are a teacher, that is your first
responsibility. Community standards apply, wherever you teach,
liberal or conservative school; right, left, or center (and most
likely all three!). It's imporant to know where you are, and how
your own art practice and ideas about appropriate art for the
classroom fit with the closely held beliefs of the community you
Cheers, Jane in Brooklyn