Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Teacher Sues Board For Right To Speak At School Board Meeting

Here's a cute tale from Mobile, Alabama, about a teacher that had to sue in order to be allowed to finish her 5 minute speech to express her concerns about excessive administrative paperwork and advocating a payraise for classroom teachers.

Teacher Cindy Naylor had attempted to deliver her speech the week before, but had been silenced by Board President Lonnie Parsons because a sympathetic audience (with many teachers interspersed) had loudly applauded. Nobody "booed" the board, no one attempted to disrupt the public's business.

After cutting her off, the board rescheduled the meeting during the teachers' work day. It was then that Naylor filed her suit.

With court order in hand, Naylor delivered her speech Tuesday evening.

While we concede that at times unruly speakers may need to be reminded (and at times asked to leave) that uncivil behavior will not be tolerated at board meetings, that was not what happened in this case. We think that scheduling a school board meeting during the school day to simply stifle input from teachers is simply wrong.