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Portfolio Assignment 2

Teachers Rights and


Responsibilities

EDU 210

Aubrey LaMond

Ann Griffin was having a private conversation with two other

administrators away from her classroom. She lost her cool in a heated
conversation and said she hated all black folk. The conversation and her

comments were told to the public. At that time the principal had concerns on

her ability to teach and be fair when it came to her students and wanted to

fire her. This leak caused a stir in the community to her coworkers of all

races.

In the case of Loeffelman v. Board of Education (February 2004),

Jendra Loeffelman an eighth grade teacher answered a question from her

student regarding if she was for or against interracial relationships. The

teacher voiced her opinion that she was against them. She went further to

say that she thought that if a couple wanted to be in an interracial

relationship, that they should be fixed to not have any children.

(Underwood, J., & Webb, L. D. (2006)) This teacher was speaking her

opinion; but it brings to question, if this is her opinion then is it affecting her

ability to be fair. She has a biracial student in her classroom, so how does

this statement affect this child and the others students? Although the

teacher has the right of her own opinion, that fact that she voiced it to her

students brings her judgement and her ability to be fair to question.

(caselaw.findlaw.com) Ann Griffin was also stated her opinion and even

away from her students, but in this case Ann would be terminated due to the

question of the teachers judgement and the ability to be fair; and this had

nothing to do with public concern.

Doyle v. Mt. Healthy City School District Board of Education

429 U.S. 274 (January 1977), Fred Doyle was terminated based on his
"notable lack of tact in handling professional matters which leaves much

doubt as to your sincerity in establishing good school relationships.(

supreme.justia.com) Doyle had been in multiple altercation at this school

involving employees at the school. He also spoke in derogatory ways and

made obscene gestures to students. Fred Doyle also leaked a memo

regarding dress code to a friend who then spoke about it on the radio. Doyle

tried to claim that he was fired regarding the information he leaked. The

courts did rule in his favor due that they cannot prove that his termination

was only about his behavior and nothing to do with the memo about dress

code. (supreme.justia.com) Ann Griffin would have been ruled against

strictly on her inappropriate behavior and lack of professionalism; she has no

other claim of why she was terminated.

Givhan v. Western Line Consolidated School District ruled in

favor of Bessie Givhan after wrongful termination due to her unfavorable

comments to her principal. The principal stated she complained and had a

hostile attitude. The Fifth circuit tried to reverse the decision stating that

since it wasnt public that is wasnt under her constitutional rights of

Freedom of Speech. The Fifth circuits ruling was declined due to the Mt.

Healthy test and there was no other reason for termination besides her

speech. (usedulaw.com) Givhan was protected under the first amendment,

and was reinstated. If Ann Griffin was terminated just for her comment, then

she would be protected under free speech. Unless the principal can prove

that she acted on her comment, there is no legal ground for termination.
In the of Cooper v. Eugene School District, Janet Cooper came to

school dressed in her religious dress of white clothing and a white turban.

ORS 342.650 states, "No teacher in any public school shall wear any religious

dress while engaged in the performance of duties as a teacher".

(law.justia.com) Cooper was told she would be suspended if she continued

to wear this clothing. The superintendent revoked Janet Coopers teaching

license based on the above sanction. Although there is a rule in place that a

teacher cannot wear any religious dress while teaching; what is considered

religious dress? (law.justia.com)

What it really comes down to is, does this rule violate the teachers

constitutional rights? In this case the Court of Appeals reversed the decision

to revoke her teaching license on the basis of the First Amendment. In this

case constitutional rights overrule any sanctions or rules that the school

district implemented. Therefore, in Ann Griffin case she would be protected

under the First Amendment. Anns constitutional rights allow her to have free

speech as long as her language doesnt show up in her teaching and the way

she deals with her students.

As all these cases have shown, this case can be argued both ways.

Even supreme courts changed rulings and reevaluate decisions. Based on

the information I would argue that the court would rule on terminating Ann

Griffin questioning her judgement as a teacher and ability to be fair in the

classroom based on her comments. If she cannot have a discussion with

other adults without lashing out racial comments, how can she handle a
stressful position of being a teacher. Schools are diverse, and a teacher

needs to stay neutral regarding race.

Regarding the case of Loeffelman v. Board of Education; it is not just

what she said, but how she handled herself as a professional. Loeffelman

should have had the knowledge to use her best judgement on how she

answered the question from her student. She should have left her opinion

outside of the classroom, just as Ann Griffin should have done in the

argument. Based on Doyle v. Mt. Healthy City School District Board of

Education, the teachers behavior and comments were inexcusable. If he was

being terminated only on the basis of his actions, then the decision would

have been upheld. It is not just what is said and the freedom of speech, but

how her opinion affects the teaching and the fairness to all the students.

Teachers are people and have their own thoughts and opinions, but they

need to present a face of professionalism as they are at the forefront of

teaching young people.


References
FindLaw's Missouri Court of Appeals case and opinions. (n.d.). Retrieved November 02,
2016, from http://caselaw.findlaw.com/mo-court-of-appeals/1109760.html

Underwood, J., & Webb, L. D. (2006). School law for teachers: Concepts and applications.
Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Merrill Prentice Hall.
PG. 59/Loeffelman v. Board of Education

Mt. Healthy City Sch. Dist. v. Doyle 429 U.S. 274 (1977). (n.d.). Retrieved November 02,
2016, from https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/429/274/case.html

Givhan v. Western Line Consolidated School District. (n.d.). Retrieved November 02, 2016,
from http://usedulaw.com/307-givhan-v-western-line-consolidated-school-district.html

Cooper v. EUGENE SCH. DIST. NO. 4J. (n.d.). Retrieved November 02, 2016, from
http://law.justia.com/cases/oregon/supreme-court/1986/301-or-358.html