I support gay marriage. If you disagree with me, you have just as much right to
express your opinion as I do. That's what freedom of speech means. It means
nothing if it only applies to views which which I happen to agree.
Many employers have the right to fire or suspend you over the things you say.
You have no constitutional right to a job. Employers are not obligated to employ
you. This is not a very complicated or ambiguous issue.
Freedom of speech, as I understand it, is the right to say whatever you want
(with a few exceptions, like death threats) without any form of punishment or
reprisal from the GOVERNMENT. It does not exempt us from the retaliation of our
employers, parents, teachers, church leaders, Facebook friends, etc. Some may
believe that freedom of speech means the government has to provide a forum for
our speech, or protect us from all consequences of our speech, but I don't think
that is the case. An employer has the right to terminate an employee for
behavior, whether words or actions, that it disagrees with, just as an employee
could quit over the statement of a boss. Neither one has had their freedom of
speech infringed. It is the government that can take no part in punishing or
censoring our freedom of speech.
"Could someone please explain it to me because I just don't get
it?"The explanation is that a high school adminstration in
Florida is violating the free speech rights of one of its teachers. The
examples the author gave of free speech granted to others disgust most civic
minded citizens yet we tolerate them because that is the bargain we have made
living in this country. The author is correct to be confused and disgusted by
the actions of this backward thinking school adminstration. If we don't protect
everyone's right of free speech - even the ones we disagree with - the day will
soon come when we won't have any rights of free speech.
The teacher signed a contract saying he would not do certain things while
working for his employer. He signed the contract in exchange for being
employed. He violated the contract. His employer has the right to fire him at
which time he regains his first amendment right to speak out on the issue albeit
without a job.
Lori;His free speech was not infringed upon.He does have
to pay consequences for saying stupid things though. Freedom of speech doesn't
grant immunity from consequences of said speech.
@ Lori B. Walker: If the teacher had posted a pornographic video that glorified
violence, would you be upset if the school district had suspended him? There are often arguments on these threads about prayer in school and
other religious activities in various places. Those who think such things
should be allowed quote the First Amendment and draw focus to the
"Congress" part of it - claiming that school prayer is not an act of
Congress and therefore is not prohibited by the First Amendment. They also draw that fine distinction when discussing whether or not there is
(or should be) a separation of Church and State.Yet, reading the
comment threads about this story, many of those same people seem to be claiming
that the "Congress" distinction does not apply to free speech.Interesting splitting of hairs....
I wonder how people here would be reacting had the teacher said he supported gay
rights and then got fired for that. I don't believe the support would have been
there for him, and people defending his free speech.Also, what if the
teacher was on his facebook, on his own time, own computer, and stated that all
of his students were idiots and he feared for our society in the future. Would
you defend his speech then?
David King said: "An employer has the right to terminate an employee for
behavior, whether words or actions, that it disagrees with..".If that is the case, then an employer has the right to terminate any employee
that lives in a homosexual relationship if they disagree with that lifestyle,
right? I think you and the people that recommended your comment had better
re-think your position. Or are the rights we have limited to those that promote
I didn't know the guy was in jail and his freedom taken away.
The teacher shouldn't lose his job, IMO.But you should also object
the Utah law that states any teacher that speaks favorably of homosexuality in
any way can be fired doing so.
Free speech is only for liberals. Just ask Glenn Beck or anyone else who says
things liberals don't like!
This letter is the perfect response to those who claim that no harm comes from
electing left-wing politicians. Indeed, great harm has come.Left-wing politicians place left-wing jurists on the Supreme Court. These
jurists then ignore the beliefs of the Founding Fathers and legislate from the
Bench.Freedom of speech protects speech, not lewd depictions of
nudity. The Fathers would be appalled to learn how these judicial activists have
turned the Constitution on its head to promote immorality.If only it
were true that pornography only effected the person who watched it.
Unfortunately, it effects all of us by increasing the prevelance of divorce,
illegitimacy, and sex crimes. Only the most perverse would claim that this is
the purpose of the 1st Amendment.
To Grover, Ranchhand, and George - my usual kindred spirits in the liberal fight
against conservative nonsense, I think you are wrong in your analysis of this
issue. The teacher in question didn't try to influence his students in the
classroom, he didn't try to present his case in his curriculum. He just simply
stated an opinion on his Facebook page. A member of the school administration
claimed that his comments were public comments because he had 700 friends on
Facebook. Really? Because the circle of your closest friends knows your
deepest feelings about an issue then it becomes a matter of public discourse? I
don't think so.The author of this letter is incorrect to state that
this is "a view held by a majority of Americans." In fact the
opposite is true. But that doesn't change the fact that the teacher has a
right, as a private citizen, to state his opinion. It is only when we defend
that concept that we can truly say we believe in free speech.And
Silas Brill has made an excellent point illustrating how the concept should work
both ways in every state in the union.
The teacher's first amendment rights were not infringed. He was not held
criminally liable, nor were criminal charges pressed against him. He was
suspended for violating the terms of his employment contract, and what he did
was just dumb.There are times when I want to post something on my Facebook
account, but do not because I know who might read this. If he had gay students,
this was not the smartest thing to do.If the teacher had posted
pornographic or obscene material, then any reasonable person would expect the
teacher to be fired and have criminal charges brought against him, even though
pornography is protected under the first amendment.
@T-Jeff,If that is the case, then an employer has the right to
terminate any employee that lives in a homosexual relationship if they disagree
with that lifestyle, right? I think you and the people that recommended your
comment had better re-think your position. Or are the rights we have limited to
those that promote your agenda? ===========He absolutely does
if that is spelled out in his terms of employment, or if his lifestyle is
interferring with his work. For example, it is perfectly legal to consume
alcohol, but if my doing it in excess impedes my ability to work, I cannot
expect to be employed very long. Or on the other side, working for the LDS
church often requires a temple recommend, so someone engaging in homosexual
behavior can be terminated.In this case the teacher limited his ability to
work, or effectiveness as a teacher, by placing what he did on Facebook.
Teachers are far more "teachers" "mentors" would be a far
more accurate description of what they do. Sutdents are going to be more
hesitant to ask for the help they may need in life from him now.
A relevant point that has yet to be raised concerns the teacher's role. A
teacher, as employee of the school board is also (potentially) a spokesperson
for the school district; he or she often speaks on behalf of the district. The
reason it is unconstitional for teachers and school administrations to organize
and lead school prayer is grounded in the notion that as employees of the
public, such actions constitute a violation students' freedom of religion and
amount to use of public resources to endorse specific faiths.In this
case, the question concerned whether or not the teacher was speaking in his
official capacity as an employee of the district. Certainly, his statements
would raise valid questions about his ability to treat glbt students with
respect in his classroom, something the district, as his employer, has a right
to explore. Calling it a violation of his freedom of speech is a red herring.
He is free to speak his mind, but doing so raises questions about his job
performance (in the same way a firefighter expressing admiration for arson might
It isn't the free for all you imply, you have to be an adult to get porn, vote,
and die for your country NOT any ol' ageI see people get carded for video
games here in happy valley as often as they Id for smokes or beer.What if a teacher in Utah posted the temple rites on his facebook and made fun
of them.How well do you think that would go over?We
can't all be shock jocks like glenn and sean, some people work in the real
That's because we don't have free speech in relation to employment, even if you
aren't at work.If I somehow got on national television and slammed
my employer - I'd get fired. Work contracts are not the same as the
first amendment that guantees the GOVERNMENT won't arrest you or shut you up for
opinion. Unless you make a threat or something like that obviously.Or try telling your boss what you really think for once and see what happens.
@ ECR: I agree that it is important to respect and support the rights of people,
even those I disagree with, to speak their opinion.The school
district this teacher works for has a policy that states that facebook and other
social media outlets are not private and gives guidelines for posting on such
sites.This teacher was aware of the policy and posted inflammatory
statements anyway. He has a right to post those statements, the school district
has a right to see if the policy was violated.The teacher was placed
in an administrative position for 3 days while the issue was investigated, he
was not fired, his pay was not reduced. At the end of that 3 days, it was
determined no violation had occurred, and he returned to his normal duties.Students at various schools have been suspended for outside activities,
including posts on facebook and sexting.This isn't about free speech
- this is about school policies that regulate outside of school activities.
IMNSHO, such policies are bogus and should be done away with entirely.While they exist, they must be applied equally and those who willingly subject
themselves to such policies are accountable for violations.
I know that people have been fired for expressing the views against SSM so when
this happened I sent an e-mail to the school district talking about respecting
freedom of speech. In retrospect, the teacher had signed an agreement not to
vent in a public forum.Having said that, RanchHand's comment:
"Freedom of speech doesn't grant immunity from consequences of said
speech." Yes it does.Besides, who gets to decide if your
speech is offensive and if you are going to lose your job for it?One
of the best things that I learned at the University of Utah was
multiculturalism. Not because of some program by the UofU, but from
experiencing people who said incredibly ignorant and sometimes conflicting
things about Mormons and Utah. I learned the risks of trying to interpret
things over a cultural fence.If intolerant speech had been banned, I
would never had that experience.
George - Thanks for your explanation. If, in fact, that policy exists then
school has a right to take action - as misguided as it is.
Let's get this straight...the Supreme Court has never protected
"pornography" under the 1st Amendment (see Miller v Calif, 1973).
Communities are free to prohibit it if they want. Our letter writer needs to
check the facts. As for the teacher, he was NOT fired--although the soundness of
his judgment is surely in question.
Re: "Freedom of speech, as I understand it, is the right to say whatever
you want . . . without any form of punishment or reprisal from the
GOVERNMENT."Uh, teachers work for the government.
@three11stu"I wonder how people here would be reacting had the
teacher said he supported gay rights and then got fired for that."That depends on how he said it. If he'd stuck to just a generic statement for
or against gay marriage that's different than the vitriolic tone he used in his
actual message. If someone had made a pro-gay marriage statement that included
something like that Mormons make him want to vomit... then yeah I'd support the
suspension for him too.
@T-Jeff"If that is the case, then an employer has the right to
terminate any employee that lives in a homosexual relationship if they disagree
with that lifestyle, right?"In Utah, among other places, you
can do that. That's why gay rights activists push for the job
anti-discrimination stuff that passed in Salt Lake City and several other cities
to be done at a state level.
@ECR;I disagree. How many of his facebook "friends" are
his students?I have worked in positions of authority and was
required to sign agreements that my conduct (including speech) outside of work
could be used in assessing my future with the company.Public
teachers have a responsibility to the PUBLIC, which includes the children they
teach. That includes ALL children, including those who identify as GLBT. A
teacher's words outside the classroom, that are made in a public forum (yes,
Facebook IS a public forum) that are clearly violently against a segment of the
population, which may include his students are completely inappropriate and
could be interpreted by those students in a way that makes them feel unsafe in
his classroom.Children should be able to feel that school is a SAFE
environment. Teachers should be their source of succor in times of need and if
you think a GLBT student could ever feel safe going to this teacher (for
anything), I sincerely beg to differ.
@procuradorfiscal I too work for the government, as a soldier. I
have a Constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of speech. But, if I tell
my supervisor what I really think of him, I can expect there to be serious
consequences. Legal charges were not filed against the teacher, so
his 1st amendment rights were not violated. The argument he works for the
government, if anything, should restrict that right even further, since what he
says can be construed to represent the government.
@Tekakaromatagi;The first amendment protects you from the Government
taking action against you for your speech. It has never prevented an employer
from taking action against you for it. Many employers could fire you for either
pro or anti speech for any number of issues.
@procuradorfiscal;School boards (and teachers by extension) work FOR
the government, they are not the government.
@procuradorfiscalI also work for the government. I am not allowed
to hold partisan politcal office. Isn't that an infrigement on my free speech
rights? If I choose to run for a city council position that is partisan, I'll
be fired, even if that position is only after-hours. I'm also not allowed to
use a government email address to promote politcal candidates, political causes,
or anything like that. If I do, I can be immediately terminated. It is part of
the rules of conduct that I agreed to. I surely won't go to jail for violating
those rules so I will still be "free," I just won't be employed. It isn't a left-wing or right-wing thing, it is just a matter of
@Grover: again, you are wrong. Did the teacher sign a contract? If so, there was
nothing in the contract about posting on Facebook or any other site. The school
district has issued guidelines about these things.In reading the
guidelines it would be hard pressed to identify what guideline he broke. Did you
actually read what the teacher posted?@George: what were the
"inflammatory" statements of the teacher? Did you read them? I did and
I didn't find them "inflammatory" in any way. In fact, I found them to
be quite straightforward and factual.I do agree with you though that
the long arm of the school district should stop at it's sidewalk.
@MountanmanHow have Glenn Beck's free speech rights been denied?
The last time I checked, he had a radio program broadcast for free across
government-owned frequencies, his Internet show is broadcast across a
government-provided network infrastructure. He hold rallies on government
property in DC, flies on planes that are flying through government-regulated
airspace and kept safe by government air traffic controllers. Please expain to
me how his free speech rights are being violated by the "liberals."
It is OK for High School administrators to talk about 'freedoms' but they don't
have to live them.
What? You mean I can't tell off my boss and still keep my job? What if I only
tell her how ugly her daughter is? Isn't this free speech? Do my
think my saying anything my boss doesn't like or agree with can be grounds for
dismissal?Is this a free country or not? I don't get it!
Note to anyone looking for a job and given to questionable expressions of
opinion, lifestyle, or self: Anyone using social networks to
express their views as a means of self-expression must understand that these
sources are referenced by Human Resources people in determining their potential
for a position with a company. It becomes just another tool for making a
determination regarding character and risk for the companyAlso,
these sources of self-expression may provide information of a person's negative
attitudes towards society and the possibility they might be a liability to those
around them. Remember Icelandic mass shooter of late? He expressed his
opinion, but no one seemed to consider him a threat until he acted.
Re: "It isn't a left-wing or right-wing thing, it is just a matter of
professionalism."No, it's a left-wing thing.Just to
prove it [watch liberals' heads explode here] -- if a school board does exactly
what this one did to this teacher, only the teacher, instead of opposing gay
marriage, is caught espousing evolution -- that would be OK with liberals,
right?Yeah, it's not a left or right-wing thing, it's just a matter
of professionalism -- unless the ox being gored is a liberal ox.
@ procuradorfiscalif a school board does exactly what this one did
to this teacher, only the teacher, instead of opposing gay marriage, is caught
espousing evolution -- that would be OK with liberals, right?==========One is teaching science in the classroom (a teacher's job),
the other is saying that gay marriage makes him want to vomit (not a teacher's
job). If the teacher had said "The belief in God makes me want to
vomit" I would be just as upset as I am over these comments.
RE: procuradorfiscal | 1:40 p.m. Aug. 30, 2011 Tooele, UT Your
comparison with evolution is a ridiculous since evolution is much more widely
accepted in the scientific community with sufficient data to support it. The
fossil record is very clear, and Darwin's observations have been substantiated
by research over the last 150 years.If the school has a realistic
and sensible science program, it would be teaching evolution as part of the
cirriculum. The only controversial aspect of evolution is with those
fundamentalists who feel threatened by knowledge.Please find a
different topic to compare and provide an explaination of your opinion. Just
because there is belief/faith doesn't make it a reality. There are many who
still believe the earth is flat, the solar system revolves around the earth, and
the sun rides on the back of a giant turtle as it crosses the sky.
Re: "Please find a different topic to compare . . . ."What'd I tell ya -- liberals heads exploding.My example is
perfectly valid. If a school board suspends, then disciplines a teacher caught
espousing his opinions in support of evolution, not in the classroom, but on his
own computer, in his own home, on his own Facebook page, liberal posters
advocating punishment for this teacher should applaud the school board's actions
-- if they're to be consistent.Of course, neither consistency nor
common sense has ever been a hallmark of liberal thought.
@charles Teachers facebook post "I'm watching the news, eating
dinner, when the story about the New York okaying same sex unions came on and I
almost threw up. And now they showed two guys kissing after their announcement.
If they want to call it a union, go ahead. But dont insult a man and womans
marriage by throwing it in the same cesspool of whatever. God will not be
mocked. When did this sin become acceptable?I find the comments about
almost throwing up and calling gay marriage a cesspool inflammatory. So please
explain to us how this statement is factual? Not your personal or religious
belief but actually based in verifiable fact.
@procuradorfiscalIf the teacher advocating for evolution where to use
language such as referring to those that oppose evolution as make him want to
throw-up or that they are a cesspool then yes that teacher should be sanctioned
if the school board has a policy in place similar to this school boards policy.
It was how the teacher choose to express his opposition to gay marriages not his
opposition to it that got him in hot water. As I stated before the best thing
would be for there not to be these policies becuse of the high risk of
infringing on free speech and the fact there is no way to guarantee they are
applied equitably but while they do they should be applied as equitably as
Free speech is all relative. think a teacher pro-gay marriage would
still have a job here?
What it all boils down to is a man wrote something on his face book page that
isn't politically correct and the thought police want to punish him for it. The
end result is that he will be perceived as a martyr which will strengthen the
resolve of those who believe in traditional families.Speculation is
that homosexuality is caused by a defective gene and if that is the case there
is hope in the future for those who suffer from this abnormality.
@the real maverick may I refer you back to ECR's comment at 7:52 am
Atl134's comment at 11:00 am Roland kaysers comment at 12:31 pm, spoiler alerts
comment at 2:26 pm and george's comment at 3:21 PM. They all have already
addressed the comment you made. In the future you may want ti read the thread
before commenting if you want people to take you serious. As all the above
referenced posters have already stated in one form or another. The issue is not
the teacher opposition but how he choose to express his views and yes if a
person supporting gay marriage where to use such language they to should be
subject to the same type of scrutiny as long as the policy is in place.
@rifleman what it all boils down to is your distorted perception of
reality. Homosexuality is not perceived as a disease within the
medical or psychological fields and the gene that supposedly effects orientation
is not considered defective in the medical or genetics field but nice try.
Appearantly, this letter writer doesn't know the difference between Free Speech
and bigotry.Tell you what - try substituting Race, Religion, Gender,
or Age and see how far you get.You are free to say what you want -
but you can and will be held accountable.
Under Federal Law you may not be fired for being a member of a protected class,
i.e. a racial minority, because of age, etc. Some states also have laws that
protect employment beyond Federal laws. But in the main, common law permits
employers to hire and fire employees "at will". Generally, you have
the right to say what you want without government reprisal, but this right can
be restricted in the public interest if your speech is false and or damaging.
In short, the old adage is "you can't yell fire in crowded theater"
unless of course, there is one.
Re: "If the teacher advocating for evolution where to use language such as
referring to those that oppose evolution as make him want to throw-up . . . then
yes that teacher should be sanctioned . . . ."So, if our friend
Pagan/en/un/in/yn is a teacher, he should be sanctioned?
@procuradorfiscalI am not sure george could have been any more clear
I think the rest of us got it. Since Pegan did not actually make such a comment
on this thread your questions a strange reach to say the least, but I will play
along with your hypothetical, IF Pegan where a teacher and IF the school had the
same policy and IF they where to make such a comment on their facebook then yes
pegan should be sanctioned. Maybe its time for you to face the fact that your
straw man has no legs and move on.
Re: Bubble | 5:27 p.m. Aug. 30, 2011 "Homosexuality is not perceived
as a disease"The jury is still out on the reasons why
approximately 3% of the population suffer from abnormalities associated with
@rifleman Actually as I stated before the psychological, medical and
genetic field or in other words the professionals have very clearly stated the
jury is back and it is not any more a disease then the color of your hair or
eyes. The American Medical Association, the America Pedantic
society, the American Psychological Association the National Association of
Social Workers and on and on all have statements on their website that clearly
state homosexuality is not an decease or abnormality or any other aggetive you
may think up for the same thing, but I am sure you will go on believing you are
far wiser then all the experts right?
It's interesting to me that so many people describe his vitriolic comments as
his "views on gay marriage." I believe that a teacher should have
more respect when stating his opinion publicly. That said, I still believe in
his right to say it. And the teacher has since been reinstated.Now,
I think he needs to be suspended again. It has now been reported that his class
syllabus states that he teaches "God's truth." This is where we
should be drawing the line. How many of you would be comfortable with a teacher
who's syllabus said that they teach the "truth according to Allah"?
Teaching your own religion has no place in our public schools.
Re: Bubble | 11:42 a.m. Aug. 31, 2011 I grew up on a farm and
understood about the birds and the bees at a very early age. There are very
specific differences between male and female mammals and I am not confused about
what goes where and why.
So on one side we have the experts in their respective fields and the years of
research they have done and on the other we have rifleman and his common man
observations from having grown up on a farm. hmmm thats a tough one, while I
have a great deal of respect for the common man, I think I am going with the
experts on this one sorry.
Why is anyone confused? the supreme court ruled in favor of free speech, the
school board did not.Different sets of people do at times make
My best bet is the teacher wins some gigantic settlement, gets his job back or
some combination of both.
This is what the teacher posted on his FB page:"I'm watching
the news, eating dinner, when the story about the New York okaying same sex
unions came on and I almost threw up. And now they showed two guys kissing after
their announcement. If they want to call it a union, go ahead. But dont insult a
man and womans marriage by throwing it in the same cesspool of whatever. God
will not be mocked. When did this sin become acceptable?And the
letter writer is under the impression that 'a majority of Americans' agree with
the teacher?I don't think so.Also, a teacher with 700+
FB friends, spouting off like that? Pretty foolish behavior.
Re: spring street | 4:53 p.m. Aug. 31, 2011 "So on one side we have
the experts in their respective fields"The only thing you can
be certain of is that experts in their respective fields can and will change
their opinions when new evidence on a given topic is discovered.One
thing the experts can't explain away is the anatomical differences between men
and women and the reasons for those differences.