A Teacher's Right to Remain Silent: Reasonable Accommodation of Negative Speech Rights in the Classroom

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					A Teacher's Right to Remain Silent: Reasonable Accommodation of Negative Spee...
Matthew Baker
Brigham Youn
				
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Description: Nearly every significant case analyzing public school teacher speech rights in the classroom involves affirmative expression. This should come as no surprise, given that the learning process in the classroom is built on active speech, mostly by the teacher. In Palmer v. Board of Education, one of the few cases to squarely address the issue of a teacher's negative speech rights in the classroom, the Seventh Circuit answered with a conclusory "No." This comment proposes that school districts and school boards should be required to make reasonable accommodations for teachers who refuse to teach material that directly violates their deeply held and preexisting personal or religious beliefs. Overall, the reasonable accommodation standard balances rather than frustrates the significant interests of the government, teachers, students, and parents. At the same time, exercise of such negative speech rights enhances the educational experience of students, expanding on the prescribed curriculum without ignoring or replacing it.
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