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Analyzing a Court Decision. An overview of Political Activities presented by Bart Fennemore. Problematic Provisions. First Amendment rights of freedom of expression and association Incompatibility of office Conflict-of-interest Nepotism. Incompatibility/ Conflict-of-interest.
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Analyzing a Court Decision An overview of Political Activities presented by Bart Fennemore
Problematic Provisions • First Amendment rights of freedom of expression and association • Incompatibility of office • Conflict-of-interest • Nepotism
Incompatibility/Conflict-of-interest • School employees cannot serve in an office that has supervisory powers over their employer. • Resign from your school position to take office or, • Take an office that does not affect your school. • Serving on a different school board rather than the school board that employs you. • State dependent: Local school employees may be able to serve in state legislative positions. • Some districts may require you take an unpaid leave of absence while serving. • Faculty/staff of a state university however would not be able to serve in state legislative positions (perhaps one could work for Delaware State University but serve on Maryland state legislature?).
Nepotism • Office positions and School positions could be in jeopardy dependent on state nepotism provisions. • Nepotism statutes do not always strictly apply to certified school employees as the certification process is void of nepotism. • Case: Montgomery v. Carr • Court: 101 F.3d 117 (6th Cir. 1996) • Antinepotism policy was upheld that forbade married couples from working at the same school because it did not violate their First Amendment rights of association. • Policy did not apply to couples that were simply cohabitating.
Campaigning (Free of Speech) • Do not campaign on school time. • Do not campaign in your classroom. • Do not let campaigning interfere with your job performance. • Do not use your school position as leverage to affect the outcome of an election. • Do not disrupt the school’s normal operations. • Case: Castle v. Colonial School District • Court: 939 F. Supp. 458 (PA 1996) • To prevent teachers from soliciting votes during elections on school property there was a “policy that prohibited teachers from engaging in political activities on district property at any time.” • This was found to be a violation of teachers First Amendment rights.
Campaigning (Free of Speech) • Case: State Board for Elementary and Secondary Education v. Howard • Court: 834 S.W. 2d 657 (KY 1992) • Local school employees were prohibited “from taking part in the management of any political campaign for school board.” • Candidates could not solicit or accept from a school district employee any… • Political assessment • Contribution • Service