The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut has asked the Manchester Board of Education to reject a proposed policy on social media use by school employees.
The policy would restrict speech that is clearly protected by the First Amendment, imposing a set of regulations that are overly broad and impermissibly vague.
"Free speech protections apply to social media as much as to any other form of communication," said David McGuire, staff attorney for the ACLU of Connecticut "Teachers and other staff don't lose their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate, and they don't lose them when they sign into Facebook."
In a letter to the school board, McGuire pointed out several sections of the policy that run afoul of constitutional protections of free speech. These include limitations on speech that harms "the goodwill and reputation of the school district in the community" and speech that is not "appropriately respectful."
"The policy as written would not be likely to withstand a legal challenge," McGuire wrote. "If the board adopts it, the ACLU of Connecticut will monitor its application and encourage employees to contact us if they feel their rights have been violated."
The policy is on the agenda of the May 29, 2012 Board of Education for a discussion and possible vote.
- May 25, 2012
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