At the next Leon County School Board meeting on October 11, elected officials will be asked to approve a public hearing related to a policy that addresses the non-instructional activities of administrative staff members.
The proposed policy is provided below.
The new policy – entitled Freedom of Speech in Non-Instructional Settings – attempts to ” avoid situations in which the administrative staff member’s expression could conflict with the District’s interests.”
The policy also notes that “Federal and State law prohibit the School Board from adopting any policy or rule, or from entering into any agreement, that infringes upon or waives the rights or freedoms afforded to administrative staff members by the United States Constitution.”
The new policy recommends that any statements by staff members be noted as personal views and that such statements should not create disharmony with co-workers and should not be “abusive or personally defamatory.”
TR has previously reported on social media posts by school officials that promoted personal and controversial views.
Superintendent Hanna recommends – following a public hearing – the approval of the new policy with an effective date of October 12, 2022.
Proposed Leon County School Board Policy
1310 – FREEDOM OF SPEECH IN NONINSTRUCTIONAL SETTINGS
Administrative staff members, as citizens in a democratic society, have the right to speak out on issues of public concern. When those issues are related to the District, however, the administrative staff member’s expression should be balanced against the interests of this District. Further, Federal and State law prohibit the School Board from adopting any policy or rule, or from entering into any agreement, that infringes upon or waives the rights or freedoms afforded to administrative staff members by the United States Constitution.
The following procedures are adopted by the Board to help clarify and, therefore, avoid situations in which the administrative staff member’s expression could conflict with the District’s interests. In such situations, s/he should:
A. state clearly that his/her expression represents personal views and not necessarily those of the School District;
B. refrain from expressions that would disrupt harmony among co-workers;
C. refrain from expressions that would interfere with the maintenance of discipline by school officials;
D. not make threats or abusive or personally defamatory comments about co-workers, administrators, staff or officials of the District;
E. refrain from making public expressions which s/he knows to be false or are made without regard for truth or accuracy.