“This Is A New Day Folks”: Professor Threatens K-12 Teachers Who Post “Pro-Police Anti-Black Rhetoric”

498px-Winthrop_University_seal.svgFor many years, we have discussed disciplinary actions taken against teachers for social media postings.  As a free speech blog, the trend has been alarming as teachers are fired for taking dissenting or controversial views.  Now, an incoming Winthrop University Professor, April Mustian, is openly threatening K-12 teachers that they are being watched for any “rhetoric” deemed pro-police or antiBlack.  A conservative group has objected to the now deleted Facebook posting from April 26th. This is a small such controversy but it is not isolated. It is indicative of thousands of such postings against free speech from academics across the country. This threatening posting was notable because it reflects a conscious effort to intimidate other teachers in their exercise of free speech. The whole purpose is to chill free speech by threatening their jobs and livelihood if they dare to voice opposing views.  This latest controversy highlights the unresolved question of what speech rights teachers still have in participating in the national debate over police abuse and systemic racism.

Mustian has been teaching special education at Illinois State University.  Her now blocked Twitter account described her purpose as “decolonizing myself & edu.”

On her Facebook page, Mustian declares “If you are a White K-12 teacher who teaches Black children, and you are on your FB posting pro-police anti-Black rhetoric, I hope and pray those are posts and beliefs you are willing to stand by in front of Black families you are support to also love and serve.”

We previously discussed the Vermont principal who was removed for  expressing her opinion of Black Lives Matter on her personal Facebook page. We also recently discussedthe firing of a Michigan coach who expressed support for President Trump. However, this did not begin with the recent protests.  We have previously seen teachers (herehereherehereherehereherehereherehereherehere, here) students (herehere and here) and other public employees (here and here and here) fired for their private speech or conduct, including school employees fired for posing in magazines (here), appearing on television shows in bikinis (here), or having a prior career in the adult entertainment industry (here).

However, there is a sweeping trend across educational levels from grade schools to colleges to silence those with conservative or dissenting views of recent controversies.  Schools and districts have been conspicuously silent in supporting the free speech rights of teachers in participating in public and political debates. They have allowed the chilling effect on speech to grow as figures like Mustian threaten any teacher who dares to challenge a new orthodoxy of thought and expression.  The inclusion of “pro-police” rhetoric in such threats is indicative of not just a de facto speech code for teachers on social media but the undefined scope of such codes.

Winthrop University proclaims Veritas cum libertate as its motto, but there can be no liberty is there is only one permitted truth allowed by faculty like Professor Mustian.

What stood out in the controversy involving Mustian is how open and threatening this effort has become.  You now have a college professor who is telling kindergarten teachers that they are being watched for any statements deemed pro-police or anti-Black. The posting also captures how this trend is becoming raw content-based discrimination. Few teachers are subjected to campaigns for termination for expressing views considered anti-white or anti-police. Indeed, Change.org recently took down a petition criticizing a professor for declaring “White Lives Don’t Matter.” From a free speech perspective, it is not just the threats against expression but the bias in enforcement that is so concerning.

My concern is that we are not having a discussion on when it is appropriate to take action against teachers for social media postings. Despite my well-known robust views on free speech (that some may well view extreme), I accept that there can be statements made outside of school that raise legitimate issues for review or discipline.  However, I have supported teachers who have also expressed views that were deemed anti-White, anti-Republican, or otherwise intolerant as protected speech. My natural default position remains with free speech.  Yet, I would be eager to have this discussion. The problem is that we have continual cases of teachers being disciplined or fired without a clear understanding of what is permissible and what is not permissible speech. That lack of a bright line is anathema to free speech.

That uncertainty allows figures like Mustian to threaten fellow teachers if they risk any “rhetoric” that may be deemed pro-police or anti-Black. In the end, I am less interested about the merits of the pro-police or anti-police postings of teachers on their private social media. I will support them all. That is the point of free speech. If there is bad speech, the solution is more and better speech.  However, there is a movement now to make censorship and speech controls acceptable. That is the “new day” that Mustian so eagerly embraces as yet another academic opposed to free speech.

60 thoughts on ““This Is A New Day Folks”: Professor Threatens K-12 Teachers Who Post “Pro-Police Anti-Black Rhetoric””

  1. Winthrop is a quondam woman’s college located in a small city in South Carolina. What excuses are the Republican caucus in the South Carolina legislature offering as to why they allowed it to be taken over by people like this woman?

  2. Having lived in South Carolina where I knew a lot of teachers who had graduated from Winthrop, a South Carolina school, I think I know where she is coming from. There are many, many predominately black schools with white teachers in the states. I’d take her comment as a warning rather than a threat. However, South Carolina is not where the problems are, they’re in liberal urban areas – like Chicago.

  3. We don’t need no marijuana!
    We don’t need no thought control!
    All in all it’s just another dip in the road!

  4. What stood out in the controversy involving Mustian is how open and threatening this effort has become.

    How is that even possible Professor Turley? Are these tyrants not aware that you aren’t down with their cause? After all, you’ve posted here and here here and here here and here here and here here and here here and here here and here here and here here and here here and here here and here here and here here and here here and herehere and here here and here here and here here and here here and here here and here here and here here and here here and here here and here here and here.

    Perhaps, and I’m spit-balling here, your constitutional scholar credentials, your advocacy for the rule of law and concern for the security of rights carry no weight with those that demand you STFU. This battle reminds of the scene towards the end of Platoon where the commander has to order an air strike on his position. Which reminds me, how is GWU doing on free speech grounds?

    https://youtu.be/3V0gv0SASjg?t=96

  5. Wow, Bill…
    I can almost hear the desperation in your voice even though you’re typing inane drivel. I can almost picture and NPC screaming at the screen, “No, Paul, NO!”. You need to slow your roll and understand this… Your time has come. We have been most cooperative in deferring to your positions over the course of many decades to deescalate all confrontations in the name of peaceful dialog. You sought to take advantage of this civility by pressing your agenda time and time again, despite our Herculean efforts to “reach across the aisle”… You have, as of this moment, been officially put on notice… We’re done. No longer will we let you continue to push the narrative. No longer will we allow you to believe that you hold the position of moral or philosophical superiority. No longer will we BTFO when we are challenged by the left. As stated in this article, A New Day Dawns… Expect to be challenged at every turn. Expect massive and unrestrained pushback when you seek to establish your superiority. Understand that we will now automatically question your motives, beliefs, authority and, most importantly, your intellect. We understand that you and your ilk are totally divorced from reality and we will treat you as such. Go ahead and call us racist, misogynists, bigots, homophobes, unwoke, unenlightened and uncivilized. It makes no difference because we reject your presuppositions and we refuse to accept your value judgments upon us. You see the world through an entirely different and tremendously distorted vision of the world to the point that everything you say borders on the ridiculous or, worse yet, insane. Once upon a time, I might have felt sorry for you and tried to find common ground. It is only after decades of constantly being told that I am inferior, my opinions don’t matter and that you are the only group that has the right answers despite evidence to the contrary that I have come the the obvious conclusion that there IS no middle ground. You cannot be placated nor appeased with any measure of civility or intellectual discourse. As such, I refuse to try anymore. Unfortunately for you and your brethren, my sentiments are being echoed across vast swaths of this country that you have a tendency to ignore. It’s almost tragic that you will be dismantled and replaced as systematically as you have deemed that we have been with racism. We’re tired of dealing with temper tantrum throwing toddlers masquerading as intellectual elites. Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING will save you from our scorn, disdain and outright hostility. You, my friend, have earned it.

  6. With shrews like April, it’s no wonder that every society of substance is/was/will be a patriarchy. Who can tolerate this simian-like subterfuge Men handle aggression face-to-face; women like April are sniveling assassins striking with impunity.

    1. i agree every society must be a hierarchy to survive. this is pure history. because all those that weren’t, got wiped out.

      like the amazons

      ill make a little “cassandra” style prediction here, said it before. if we allow our would be amazons take over–

      then we will get wiped out out, too

  7. Those right wing nuts that pegged anyone who believed in social reform and rights of decency as communists and these idiots who lump anyone who advocates a balanced approach to today’s problems; are all cut from the same cloth. They are extremists and are more dangerous to their own causes than the opposing side. Newton’s third law in action again.

    1. Issac,
      Methinks you’re misidentifying the variables here. The equal and opposite reaction is to the absolute insanity of the left wing nuts who think they are in the position of authority. Shades of gray be damned, it is a measured response to your lunacy with our logic and reason that has failed time and time again to illicit a acceptable compromise. So… We’re gonna take another approach. We are going to utilize the same tactics that have been levied on us for the past 5 decades. We’re gonna ignore you, we’re gonna marginalize you, we’re gonna disrespect you, ridicule you, castigate you, laugh at you and a whole PLETHORA of verbs with negative connotations to you. You are the village idiots who have been spouting ridiculous tripe at every turn attempting to rewrite history, subvert law and order and inject chaos into the very fabric of the society that supported your ability to do so. I think we’re due for a little parity. And you know what? I think we’re probably a lot better at it…

  8. It is clear the teachers all need to take a course on civics and the Bill of Rights. No one who believes natural rights should be teaching children in a nation that intends to remain free.

  9. Obviously, it was a grave error for conservatives and libertarians to have tolerated freedom of speech for the LEFT. They used our tolerance to simply gain power to impose their tyranny. We should have made Joe McCarthy President!

    1. Tailgunner Joe may have been the wrong messenger, but his message was correct and he was silenced by the very media that is advancing communism. how ironic.

  10. Free speech is a fundamental right. Does that mean that a person’s speech cannot be considered in deciding whether to hire or fire? Would an intelligence service be expected to hire someone whose twitter account embraced the need to abolish all government secrets in the name of transparency? More to the point, although Winthrop is a private school, if it were a government funded university would it required by the First Amendment to support a professor whose profound bigotry is coupled with actual threats? I wish some state university would fire one of these silly twits so we could learn if there are First Amendment boundaries that apply to this conduct but we may never see such a case. Seemingly few universities today have the guts to stand by the very principles that allow them to exist in the first place. The reality is that this professor got an education and a prestigious job because of the values of this majority white country. And yet she’s ignorant and is Exhibit 1 to prove the intellectually immoral teachers that today’s higher education institutions are producing. Somewhere, somehow things got way off the track.

    1. TLM, then you contradict yourself. If free speech is a fundamental right, then how would that work when you fire someone over what they said? Also, which group is using free speech to quash free speech? Are teachers subject to free speech monitoring? They should be according to your post here. Teachers have done more damage to this countries citizens than any Intelligence service. And yes, different standards apple to different situations employment criteria. Nothing wrong with that. If you can’t get a Top Secret Clearance, then you would be disqualified.
      BTW, in CA, white people are and have been in the minority for years now. Yet they still have education and prestigious jobs. Why is that?

      “No race or ethnic group constitutes a majority of California’s population: 39% of state residents are Latino, 37% are white, 15% are Asian American, 6% are African American, 3% are multiracial, and fewer than 1% are American Indian or Pacific Islander, according to the 2018 American Community Survey.”

      1. delmaracer– thanks for your comments. I was trying to see where the boundaries are, if there are any. We know a person cannot cry “fire” in a crowded theater and rely on the First Amendment for protection. Are there any similar boundaries on what a teacher or professor can or cannot do? For example, assume Winthrop is a publicly financed university that relies heavily on endowments as well. Could the administration determine that the professor’s speech was seriously hurting its ability to raise endowment funds and on those grounds tell her to shut up or move on? Remember the old generalization– “your rights end where my rights begin.” Does BLM’s First Amendment rights give it the right to shout down a conservative speaker who also has First Amendment rights? Personally, I think there is a First Amendment boundary that would allow a public university to tell the Twit to shut up or move on and that would allow a university with a minimal amount of courage to tell BLM to take a seat.

    2. We can start punching back at the whole incompetent and fraudulent university miseducation system by taxing them for the real estate they use and pay nothing for since they are supposedly “nonprofits”

      this is totally unfair to private homeowners and all other forms of enterprises that are not so privileged as the vaunted universities

      we might as well live in a two caste system, with universities pretending to be, and having the actual perquisites of, aristocrats

    3. All colleges are actually government funded since students don’t all pay cash. There are government grants and government loans or backed loans to all of them.

  11. Liberals, Progressives, and the Democrat party, where they vote and live, have become Marxist, fascist organizations structured on the revolutionary principles we’ve seen implemented over the last 6 decades in China, USSR, Venezuela, Cuba, etc. Those who support them in any form or fashion are not Americans because like this professor, they have no respect for our Constitution, our moral framework, or our laws. They are welcome to their freedom of speech and we are welcome to despise them.

  12. Paul Schulte

    What evidence do you have for the “silent majority” claim? Unless the GOP rigs or steals the election in November, the REAL silent majority will prove to be those that prefer moderation, not hard-right supporters of corporate welfare.

    1. bill mcwilliams – there is a Silent Majority, but I do not know how it will vote because they are lying to pollsters. And if you watched the hearings with the Masters of the Universe yesterday, you could see the Democrats sucking up to them.

      1. PCS,

        Read the news. Your hard-right (corporate welfare kings/queens) are getting trounced. Theft, voter suppression, vote rigging, and Putin are your sides only hope. Barry/Gary Boldwater is deceased, and he’s not coming back. Progress comes slowly, by degrees, but it can’t be stopped.

        1. bill mcwilliams – get on Twitter and listen to the OR AG talk about Portland. It is a losing position.

  13. I couldn’t help but notice that she capitalizes the w in “White” in the first sentence. Hasn’t she read the memo? This is white supremacy.

    April is a superb example of the great white savior. Her post is a perfect example of the racism of low expectations. Does she really believe that Black parents are so incapable that they could not deal with a racist teacher at a local school board meeting?

  14. It’s never been more imperative for everyone to move to Home Schooling & away from all these Commie/Fascist public schooling indoctrination centers.

  15. All the American lives that have been sacrificed for all Americans to enjoy the rights of our constitution are now being threatened by a minority. How can we, why should we allow this?

  16. Wouldn’t “anti-black” rhetoric be, by definition, racist rhetoric? And is it wrong to being racist rhetoric by a school teacher to the attention of their bosses?

    1. wow shockingly oppressive conduct by the university thought police

      TAX THESE MISCREANTS NOW

      TAKE AWAY THEIR SPECIAL TAX PRIVILEGES AND FUND LOCAL COMMUNITIES IN ONE STROKE

      that’s my idea but i doubt i could find one legislator with the cojones to write a bill

  17. I think it is a warning not a threat. 62% of people have said they are afraid to offer their political opinions. The group that is comfortable with issuing their opinions are the hard left. Hence, the Silent Majority.

    1. Paul

      Your Dear Leader said: Trump floats delaying election despite lack of authority to do so. CNN 7/30/2020

      HE knows that criminal charges await if he loses.

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