Vermont Goes “Tone Deaf” On Free Speech: Principal Fired Over “All Lives Matter” Statement

We previously discussed the disturbing case of Vermont Principal Tiffany Riley who was suspended after she wrote on Facebook that she does not agree with the Black Lives Matter movement. Shortly after that posting, Mount Ascutney School Board held an emergency meeting to declare that it is “uniformly appalled” and that Riley was “tone deaf” for making such a statement. In what should now be a major free speech case, the Board unanimously voted to fire Riley, citing her “denigrating, derogatory, or contrary to the movement for social equity for African Americans, including the Black Lives Matter movement.”

The Board’s 50-page decision is a virtual invitation for a lawsuit. It is clear that Riley is being punished for holding an opposing view of BLM.  While struggling to find objective grounds for termination like a failure “to see both sides of an issue” or being “stubborn when facing criticism,” it is abundantly clear that Riley is being fired for her statement on BLM. Indeed, those objections would normally warrant a sit down with a superintendent, not a termination. Instead, the report highlights the statement as “’diametrically contrary’ to her job of promoting racial equity.”

Here again is the statement:

I firmly believe that Black Lives Matter, but I DO NOT agree with the coercive measures taken to get to this point across; some of which are falsified in an attempt to prove a point. While I want to get behind BLM, I do not think people should be made to feel they have to choose black race over human race. While I understand the urgency to feel compelled to advocate for black lives, what about our fellow law enforcement? What about all others who advocate for and demand equity for all? Just because I don’t walk around with a BLM sign should not mean I am a racist.

The Board added that she was “upset” in speaking with Superintendent David Baker despite the fact that Baker was widely denounced for his comments in the controversy. The Report states that Baker had told Riley that her comments were “inflammatory, “incendiary,” and “racist” and then expresses shock that she took offense. She is quoted as saying “I am a little offended that you, my leader who has known me for seven years, would even sit here and suggest that there is some racist in me. I am a little offended by that.”

The most interesting part of the Report (which refers to Riley as “Employee”) is the discussion of the events leading up to the Facebook posting. It concerned the simple painting of an American flag at the school before graduation, a symbol declaring insulting or disturbing by Iyanna Williams, a Windsor School graduate.

16. Prior to graduation, an American flag was painted on Windsor School grounds in the area where graduation ceremonies were to be held. Employee PFT ¶ 29; Superintendent PFT at 2. There are differences in witness accounts as to who directed/caused the flag to be painted and why, but that fact is not relevant to the Board’s decision.

17. Employee and Superintendent both received a 9:34 AM June 2, 2020, email (addressed to Employee, cc’d to Superintendent) from Iyanna Williams, a Windsor School Alumna. Employee at 001. The email included statements describing Ms. Williams’ views about the display of the American flag at graduation “in light of recent times,” generally with respect to concerns that display of the flag is associated with exclusion of African American citizens from political considerations. A link to an opinion piece on theguardian.com was included in the email, which describes the writer’s concerns whether the American flag has become a symbol associated with anti-minority views.

What is notable is that Riley repeatedly reaches out to Williams, who wanted the addition of a painted statement on BLM or other symbols added. Baker and the District agreed that the flag should not be painted over. The Report shows Riley reaching out to explore other possibilities:

24. Also shortly after Ms. Williams’ 6:41 PM email of June 2, Employee emailed Ms. Williams at 6:52 PM asking for her thoughts as to what might be added to the graduation site display, and she asked/suggested whether any of the following slogans might be worthwhile: “United We Stand; All Means All; Stop the Violence; Equity for All.” Employee at 006.

25. Erin Rockwood is a Windsor School employee and parent, and she is married to Kabray Rockwood, an African American man who is a coach at the School. Superintendent PFT at 2. Ms. Williams resided in the Rockwood household at the time of relevant events. Id. at 2.

26. On June 2, 2020, Employee texted Ms. Rockwood to ask her opinion about Employee possibly including comments about George Floyd’s death in Employee’s graduation speech. Employee PFT ¶ 42; Hearing Transcript at 95. The text messages on June 2 are exhibits appearing at Employee 010-013.8 Ms. Rockwood’s texts included a request that the painted American flag be removed from the school grounds before graduation, with a detailed explanation of why she felt it was problematic to be displayed at the graduation site.

27. Ms. Williams emailed Employee (apparently not including Superintendent) at 11:24 AM on June 3, 2020. Employee at 007. Ms. Williams’ email includes the statements: Phrases like “all means all” and “united we stand” are politically correct ways of saying all lives matter. This statement “all lives matter” has been used to take away from pointed efforts to save black lives. Black lives matter has a hidden “too” attached to the end of it, because until Black lives matter, all lives can’t matter.

28. Employee responded by email at 11:29 AM on June 3, 2020, with no cc to Superintendent, including thanking Ms. Williams for her thoughts and indicating she would reach out to the school’s buildings and grounds person. Employee at 008.

The graduation was held without painting over the American flag and there were not BLM displays. The Report then offers this account:

37. At 11:42 AM, June 8, 2020, Ms. Williams emailed both Employee and Superintendent, including asking why neither attended the previous night’s rally, reviewing prior communications around whether something concerning racial equity would be displayed at graduation, and commenting “It is so sad to me that you have both decided to respond out of anger, instead of action.” Employee at 022.

38. Employee responded by email at 11:06 PM, June 8, 2020, cc’g Superintendent, and stating that Employee’s prior email “was not sent with any hint of anger” and stating why she was unavailable to attend the rally. Employee at 023.

39. On June 9, 2020, at 2:09 PM, Erin Rockwood sent Employee a lengthy email which opened with the statement “I wanted to reach out as Iyanna talked to me about the back and forth you had yesterday.” Employee at 024. Ms. Rockwood wrote in part:

“Today she informed me that in your back and forth you had responded saying that you had asked me a question regarding the Black Lives Matter flag and that I hadn’t responded. That you had requested that maybe the kids make posters. I was very taken back by this. Am I to think that it is my fault that black lives were not represented on the hill because I didn’t have my children make posters? I am feeling broken by this. I have to say that I don’t feel like it is my responsibility as a parent to do the work to represent the black community of Windsor. Asking kids of Windsor to make posters to represent their race because the school didn’t take the steps to do it just seems so off. … Please understand that this email is an extended hand to help to create change and to take steps to better educate our community, our children, and our teachers experience in an all-inclusive school building … together.”

It was shortly later that Riley posted her statement on Facebook.

Afterward, the Report recounts this exchange:

44. Also on June 10, 2020, Kabray Rockwood, the husband of Erin Rockwood and a coach at the Windsor School, posted Employee’s June 10 Facebook post to his public Facebook page along with comments critical of the post and critical of Employee’s non-attendance at the BLM rally. Employee PFT ¶ 78; Employee at 036.

45. Employee’s June 10 Facebook post generated over one hundred comments and was reposted or copied by others so that it became widely shared. Superintendent at 6.

46. On June 11, 2020, at 6:57 AM, after seeing that he had shared her initial Facebook post, Employee sent Mr. Rockwood a private Facebook message which stated in part:

“Perhaps my post wasn’t clearly articulated. It certainly was not intended to offend anyone. Here’s some context behind it. I have been getting harassed via email about the American Flag painted at school that was never intended to offend anyone. I was ridiculed for not putting a BLM sign up at school when truly I have no issue with one being placed there. I have been informed our school does not do anything for people of color when I’ve been working really hard to educate our faculty to recognize issues related to discrimination and racism. The comments made about me, like in your Facebook post are so far from who I am as a person and it’s frustrating. I’m accused of not getting it or caring about black lives because it didn’t go to the rally on Sunday which so didn’t go because I have personal things going on. I’m struggling to get behind BLM, not because I disagree. I don’t disagree at all. It’s become a topic where you can’t say anything. All lives matter I’ve been told is the wrong thing to say. Employee PFT ¶ 79, Employee at 037.”

The Report gives details on the Superintendent asking that Riley take down her posting and apologize. It does not say that she was barred from making postings. It also makes this curious distinction after Riley objected to being called a “racist.”:

50. According to the Board’s review of Employee 25, the audio recording of the 4:00 PM June 11, 2020, telephone call:

a. There is no statement by Superintendent calling employee a “racist.” Superintendent stated that he did not think Employee is a racist, but that the Facebook post was “a racist post.” Employee 25 at ~ 17:35.

In fairness to the school district, I can see why a public statement on a sensitive issue can raise concerns and even lead to an inquiry. However, it is clear that Riley would not have been fired if she expressed support for BLM. Instead, she tried to explain why she felt it was possible to be anti-racist without adopting the BLM slogan. The result is a content-based act of discrimination. No where does the report state that Riley was prohibited from making public comments on her views of the issue. Indeed, teachers routinely make pro-BLM statements and I would be equally supportive if Riley was terminated for expressing support for BLM on Facebook.

The report is itself entirely “tone deaf” on its curtailment of free speech with a content-based termination. Riley should now move forward with her wrongful termination lawsuit and challenge the decision on free speech grounds. There are good-faith reasons to disagree with Riley’s view of BLM and her posting. I can also see why Williams was unsatisfied with suggested slogans that do not refer to combatting racism in her discussions with Riley.

It is also true that this all began with the painting of an American flag and there was little time to organize children making Riley’s proposed posters on BLM and countering racism.  The time line begins on June 2 and the graduation is held on June 5. That is just three days.  Five days after graduation, Riley posted her comment on Facebook.

Moreover, the District did not order Riley to take down the posting and there is no official rule against what she did as a private person. Indeed, the District knows that requiring teachers to express approved political or social positions on social media would be immediately countermanded by a court. Instead, it is attempting to regulate free speech while adopting transparent excuses for this termination.  The Mount Ascutney School Board has decided to be plunge headlong into speech controls and will likely be forced to litigate that authority in court. That will come at considerable expense for the District’s taxpayers. However, these actions have already come at a considerable expense for free speech.

 

116 thoughts on “Vermont Goes “Tone Deaf” On Free Speech: Principal Fired Over “All Lives Matter” Statement”

  1. I hope the teacher gets so much money from litigation that the school system has r have to sell bonds to pay her . As part of the settlement the superintendent and school board should be forced to resign

  2. Oh, for God’s sake. Sue all the schools harassing dissenting speech until they stop. They won’t stop until they are forced to.

    All Lives Matter is inherently inclusive. It means that black, Asian, Latino, Caucasian, and all the blends in between all matter just the same. It’s a just view.

    Black Lives Matter promotes anti-cop rhetoric and is racist against whites. It is inherently exclusive and divisive. People wouldn’t find it necessary to point out that all lives matter if BLM wasn’t promoting violence against cops or bigotry against whites. The level of denial on the problems of BLM is staggering.

    I have actually had people tell me, without a shred of irony, that BLM is about racial solidarity. Are you kidding me?!

  3. JT: The Board tried to find “objective grounds for termination like a failure ‘to see both sides of an issue’ . . .”

    In which case, they should fire themselves.

  4. I sincerely hope Reily sues for and is awarded multiple millions of dollars. Perhaps the taxpayers who will have to cover these costs will think twice about who they elect to their school board. As for Williams, if she is offended by OUR American flag then why doesn’t she move to another country where immature little twits are coddled. Oh, I guess she found that spot in the Socialist State of Vermont.

  5. The whole black lives matter meme is there because the Reality is, black lives don’t matter. The large majority of them anyway. Black lives don’t even matter to black people. That is why black mothers could care less about bringing their babies into a loving family with a father in the household. Because Baby DeMarquarius and Baby Shemeekaleeka don’t matter. It is why black neighborhoods suck, and are filthy places where most people will not live. It is why those “suburban soccer moms” runs to the suburbs in the first place. So their kids will not have to go to school with violent savage black baboons who will making learning almost impossible, not to mention a place of constant battle an stress. It is why there are numerous schools where not even one little black kid is proficient in either English or math. It is why Maxine Waters lives in a white neighborhood.

    In fact, if there was a Black Rapture, where Jesus came and shanghaied every black American up into the Pearly Gates, America would rejoice. We could afford nice things again as a country, and our inner cities would become livable places instead of Little Mogadishu-like battle zones. We would lose the NBA, and some good musicians. We would lose some good people like Candace Owens, Thomas Sowell, and Shelby Steele. But by and large, America’s stock would rise.

    If black lives are ever going to matter in any substantive fashion, then they need to start mattering in the black community, and it should start with black women getting married before Little Rastus and Little Liza are born. Which ain’t gonna happen during our lifetimes. Sadly.

    Black lives matter is NOT a statement. It is an aspiration and hope, and there is little White America can do until black people themselves decide to make it happen. Which, they ain’t.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

      1. I know it was a horrible comment. But sadly, it is also a true comment. Because some of these schools are horrible learning environments particularly where there are large number of black kids. I think the “horribleness” of it is what keeps white people from openly confronting the reality. But white people do know it, and that is why they move to the suburbs and bedroom communities where they don’t have to live around a bunch of blacks, or send their kids to school with the little black monsters. Even white Democrats and Liberals. Even smart black poeple who can afford it. People know the reality but we are not supposed to say it.

        Remember this, from October 2019:

        ““Blacks destroy school systems and schools,” read one letter to county officials about the busing plan. “Black families (as a core group) don’t value education like other cultural groups,” read another. “The Black Community needs to take responsibility for the behavior of its people,” a third declared, “or the white man will take them back to place where they don’t want to go.” Don’t worry, though. The writer insisted they were not being racist.

        These letters were written in recent months in response to a Howard County (Maryland) Council resolution calling on the county school system to desegregate its schools. The letters’ target was a comprehensive redistricting proposal offered by Howard County schools superintendent Michael Martirano. The plan would ease overcrowding and, in Martirano’s words, “substantially improve equity and access to the best educational services” in the county’s schools. By redistributing students around the district and balancing the number of poor students in the district’s schools, the proposal would make the schools more economically integrated, and thus—in theory—more racially integrated.

        There is more at the link:

        https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2019/10/racists-in-one-of-americas-richest-counties-are-freaking-out-over-a-forced-busing-proposal/

        And this one by a black person is pretty interesting:

        https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6432275-Howard-County-Redistricting-2019-Written.html#document/p3/a527428

        ————
        Squeeky Fromm
        Girl Reporter

        1. 1. There is no ‘desegregation proposal’. Parallel school systems were dismantled in Maryland 60 years ago. It’s just that blacks cluster in some neighborhoods rather than others and in some schools rather than others and social engineers on the bench fancy that’s a problem for someone other than social engineers on the bench and their co-conspirators on the public interest bar.

          2. Most black youngsters will behave passably in school if the rules are clear and enforced. You have to sequester about 15% or so and turn them over to day detention centers run by the sheriff’s department so the other 85% can learn. The witless social ideology of teacher’s college graduates, public interest lawyers, and judges conspires to prevent vigorous order maintenance in schools.

          1. You said, “You have to sequester about 15% or so and turn them over to day detention centers run by the sheriff’s department so the other 85% can learn. ”

            I think you are basically right, give or take 10% on the top side, but it can not happen until the problem is clearly and horribly laid out.

            If you are trying to fix Uncle Bob, and Uncle Bob is an alcoholic, then sooner or later you have to quit having an “Uncle Bob Pride Month”, and an “Uncle Bob’s Life Matters” movement and just come out and tell Uncle Bob he is a frigging drunk and needs to go to rehab. That can not be done with Blacks, because it is “blaming the victim” and would tend to collapse the DNC Narrative’s wave function. (I am watching A Brief History of Quantum Mechanics – with Sean Carroll right now on youtube.)

            Our country will be blaming Institutional Racism and cisgenderism and the Electoral College for decades into the future. And padding black test scores and not reporting Trayvon Martin’s clones for stealing jewelry. In 2065, we will still have Affirmative Action. And in 2065, white people will still not want their kids going to black schools and white people will still be moving away from the Black Zombie Horde to live in nice places, free from the Plague.

            Squeeky Fromm
            Girl Reporter

          2. “2. Most black youngsters will behave passably in school if the rules are clear and enforced. ”

            That was impressively proven by Thomas Sowell in his recent study on NYC Charter Schools.

            1. Thanks, I did not know about that book. I have a lot of respect for Thomas Sowell. I think if Britannica ever brings back its Great Books series, Intellectuals and Society should be in it. I have not finished it yet, but it is informative and well written.

              Squeeky Fromm
              Girl Reporter

              1. Squeaky, you may have missed my discussion with Prairie. Go to Uncommon knowledge Thomas Sowell interview. The book was just published on or around Sowell’s 90th birthday and then he had this interview with Peter Robinson (wrote Take down that Wall (Berlin Wall Reagan)

                I thought it was a fabulous interview if one is interested in the subject matter. It makes me sick because Democrats and the teachers union have no compunction about destroying the lives of black and hispanic children. I was very impressed. I got the syllabus and included every school in the study with the relevant data.

                1. Allan,
                  “I thought it was a fabulous interview” Well…

                  I rather liked, overall, what he wrote as the closing lines of his book.

                  I was disappointed that he did not steel-man his opponents.

                  1. “I was disappointed that he did not steel-man his opponents.”

                    Prairie, I don’t know what you mean. This was a study not a debate. The study was Charter Schools vs public schools. If I can use your term in an inappropriate fashion, Sowell steel-manned the public schools.

                    1. Studies should not set up straw men. To be the most convincing, they should acknowledge their opponents’ actual perspective, not a surmised one or a caricature of it.

                      Sowell did not steel-man public schools at all.

                    2. Prairie, I think we will need you to clarify your use of the word Steel-man in this discussion. You are totally wrong about studies at least in regard to the one under discussion.

                      What better comparison can one do than take the closest identical groups and compare them using the states testing and methodologies when comparing the public schools to Charter Schools? The perspective of the opponents to charter schools was some of the things you brought up but the reason behind education is to teach the young. What the study did was compared what similar groups learned in the specified schools and demonstrated a better way.

                      The public schools were a disaster. The Charter Schools provided a much better education than the public schools where the study was performed. What is it you don’t understand?

                    3. The ‘actual perspective’ is that a fee-for-service activity which appears naturally on the open market should be provided by public agencies fortified by a half-dozen buttresses generating rent-seeking because reasons. The ‘actual perspective’ is that teachers’ colleges are jim-dandy and should be universally tasked with screening the labor force for teaching positions.

                    4. Allan,
                      It isn’t simply a study. A study was conducted to support a particular argument. Some of his approach to the argument, at least in the Uncommon Knowledge interview, did not include steel-manning public schools.

                      To Steel-Man: “building the best form of the other side’s argument and then engaging with it”.

                      I think there may be very particular circumstances where charter schools are beneficial (you already suggested that may be the case). I noticed that the main areas he noted studying included extremely large districts in both CA and NY. In what way does the size of said districts, political demographics, cross-sectional education levels and socio-economic class affect the educational system? Is self-governance just generally hampered in these places? If so, why is it hampered? Are people’s lives fragmented such that even self-governance at the individual level is detrimentally affected?

                      I will watch his interview again and take notes. I will try to procure a book from the library and prioritize it so as to give it a fair response versus relying solely on an interview.

                    5. “It isn’t simply a study. A study was conducted to support a particular argument.”

                      Not so, Prairie. The study was not to support an argument but to prove something not accepted by those in power including the teachers union. It disproved the political argument that Charter Schools didn’t do any better than public schools. It was not a debate. It was a clear well-performed study where Charter Schools provided a much better education than comparable public schools.

                      The argument at hand was educational value and the study proved that the Charter Schools functioned much better than the public schools. Meeting educational needs is an important metric. You have not proposed any other argument more important than educating young children.

                      Prairie, you are grasping at straws. If Charter Schools do not do well in another area they will cease to exist on their own or will never be created in the first place. I don’t know why you are afraid of competition between public schools and Charter Schools, but not afraid of the poor education provided by many public schools.

                      “I noticed that the main areas he noted studying included extremely large districts in both CA and NY. In what way does the size of said districts, political demographics, cross-sectional education levels and socio-economic class affect the educational system?”

                      To to do the fairest comparison large numbers were needed where the children were taught in the same buildings and came from a similar socio-economic background. In part, this study was done where it was because those that dislike Charter Schools (for whatever reason) would otherwise state that the student groups were not comparable.

                      The study was not intended to answer every last question. It answered the important question. Students in public schools that were failing did well in the Charter Schools. Attaining a certain degree of education for children is what the school tax is for. This study proved that Charter Schools could far surpass public schools.

                      I don’t know why you are so focused on knocking down the great accomplishments performed by the Charter Schools in question. As we speak the Mayor of NYC is trying to weaken Charter Schools so that their ability to teach is hindered so they don’t compete with the public school system. This is political shenanigans by democrats that are destroying the education being provided to low-income blacks and Hispanics.

                    6. Allan,
                      It is most certainly an argument. Your response reinforces that: “but to prove something”, “It disproved”. He is trying to assert the perspective that charters are all around better than public schools. I have not particularly disagreed with the metrics you’re emphasizing. My concerns primarily lie elsewhere, though, I do have concerns about the accuracy of comparing the two institutions as he did. And, I have acknowledged they may play an important role in niche environments (as you have in the “Virtually Insane…” discussion).

                      “The argument at hand was educational value”

                      No, the argument at hand was regarding the first amendment (as far as I can tell, Tinker vs DSM does not apply to charter schools, despite their use of public funds), the issue of self-governance, and, taxation without representation regarding the funding of charter schools (from our discussion on the Virtually Insane blog post). Taxpayers have no say in how their taxes are used at charter schools; if there’s waste, they can’t tell, don’t know, and have no recourse.

                    7. Prairie, I’m sorry but you are all over the map. The discussion involves a study comparing Charter Schools to public schools in NYC. Many arguments are being made against Charter Schools by those having a financial or political interest in promoting the present public school system in NYC which is a disaster in poor neighborhoods.

                      For the most part, those arguments don’t hold up well so eventually proponents against Charter Schools rely on the argument that Charter Schools are no better than public schools and might be worse. Without proof, NYC politicians have passed laws to limit the number of Charter Schools. To provide such proof is the primary reason this study was performed. The results are clear. The Charter Schools in the study performed much better than the public schools. One could add that it is likely that more Charter Schools in those areas would vastly improve the educational system. One could surmise that based on the results that Charter Schools offer competition and that competition might improve the public school system.

                      What it seems you are doing is fighting against Charter Schools by making all sorts of arguments instead of looking at the study and asking yourself what the school tax is for. You are losing sight of the fact that we are dealing with children who, if their education improves, could be better for society along with themselves and their families.

                      ” He is trying to assert the perspective that charters are all around better than public schools.”

                      He didn’t say that at all. He stated the conclusions of the study which was that the Charter Schools provided much better proficiency than the comparable public schools.

                      “I do have concerns about the accuracy of comparing the two institutions as he did. “

                      There is always a question about accuracy when comparing two things. But, that is one of the reasons they were so careful about choosing the variables they did. They wanted as close to identical students in identical facilities to be compared and used the metrics of NY not their own.

                      I cannot see another study being devised that would be better than this one.

                      Some numbers, I do not vouch for their accuracy. https://www.wsj.com/articles/more-than-a-quarter-of-new-york-city-students-attend-private-or-charter-schools-11566738000

                      1.24 million students
                      ~ 118,600 children citywide attended charter schools
                      Many attend private schools or religious schools
                      Some schools top annual fee ~$50,000

                      Different areas in NYC have different attendance at the various schools offered. Example: “District 2, which includes Tribeca and the Upper East Side, for example, about 42% of roughly 57,100 “ In that area, one could assume many high performing public schools. Similarly in poor areas, one can assume many low-performing public schools. “Charter operators typically open in high-poverty neighborhoods with concentrations of black and Hispanic children to provide alternatives to struggling district schools.” The emphasis on Charter Schools that I am especially promoting in our discussion is for the low performing schools where parents have no alternatives and can’t afford private school. However, I believe that the competition offered by Charter Schools can incentivize improvement in the public school system.

                    8. “(as far as I can tell, Tinker vs DSM does not apply to charter schools, despite their use of public funds)”

                      If it didn’t apply to Charter schools why did you use that case in argument?

                    9. “Taxpayers have no say in how their taxes are used at charter schools; if there’s waste, they can’t tell, don’t know, and have no recourse.”

                      One has to be reasonable. What recourse did the population have in the studied population? Apparently little or none for their problem of a poor public school system has existed for decades.

                      The Charter Schools gave this population very noticeable recourse and we saw that in action. Parents and children voted with their feet. THAT’S RECOURSE!.

                    10. Allan,
                      “If [Tinker vs Des Moines] didn’t apply to Charter schools why did you use that case in argument?”

                      Because the very fact that it doesn’t apply to Charter schools is the problem. Public school kids’ right to free speech does not end at the schoolhouse door (so, when it is violated, they have recourse), but, for students who attend tax-supported but privately run Charter schools, the concept of the government ‘shall not abridge’ is not something that is applicable. It would behoove those running Charter Schools to respect free speech, because free speech is best learned when exercised, and, free speech is important for thinking and citizenship. But, as private businesses, they are not under any obligation to do so.

                    11. “Because the very fact that it doesn’t apply to Charter schools is the problem.”

                      Are you now saying that private businesses cannot have a dress code?

                      ” It would behoove those running Charter Schools to respect free speech, because free speech is best learned when exercised, and, free speech is important for thinking and citizenship. But, as private businesses, they are not under any obligation to do so.”

                      Do not you think it more important for children that when they show up to work (school) to be dressed accordingly? Maybe that is one of the problems in NYC ghetto schools. The children are permitted to yell and scream whenever they wish. No, Prairie, if you believe what you said you are the wrong person to tell schools what they should or should not do.

                    12. Allan,
                      “the competition offered by Charter Schools can incentivize improvement in the public school system.”

                      I’m not sure it can, exactly, which is the problem. Absolutely, public schools can learn from what Charter Schools are doing well. The accountability for students and high expectations are definitely things that schools would do well to reinstate if such things are lacking (which, if a school is failing, they probably are).

                      That said, charter schools and public schools are not running an equal race. Charter schools do not have to take the most challenging or the most expensive kids to educate (unless that is the focus of their charter). Public schools do.

                      Regarding a downside to competition–schools may unexpectedly close and students have to then go to a new charter with new classmates, maybe even in a new building. This lack of stability is also not good for kids. So, too much market forces on schooling is also not beneficial. I read about this being very problematic in New Orleans, which is only charter schools (and they still have a little under 50% of the schools receiving a D or F rating). Apparently, parents felt like they had no voice in the schooling of their children (not surprising, since charter schools are privately run), so in 2018 control was returned to the elected school board.

                      Regarding the problems in New Orleans, since even the charter schools are apparently having trouble effectively educating a certain percentage of the population, then that means there are underlying factors that need to be addressed. Competition is not a workable solution to existential problems.

                    13. Allan,
                      >>“the competition offered by Charter Schools can incentivize improvement in the public school system.”
                      >”I’m not sure it can”

                      Why not?

                      “Absolutely, public schools can learn from what Charter Schools are doing well.”

                      You just contradicted yourself.

                      “That said, charter schools and public schools are not running an equal race.”

                      What is your fascination with things being equal? You should be interested in students being educated. Being equal shouldn’t be your objective.

                      “Charter schools do not have to take the most challenging or the most expensive kids to educate (unless that is the focus of their charter). Public schools do.”

                      That is not true. Over and over again I told you the methodology of the study. The same facility, same socioeconomic groups, and approximately the same race. We can even compare the siblings not accepted to the Charter School and the children that ended up in the public school system since they lost the lottery. They were compared as well. You sound deeply biased against Charter Schools.

                      “Regarding a downside to competition–schools may unexpectedly close and students have to then go to a new charter with new classmates, maybe even in a new building. This lack of stability is also not good for kids.

                      You are looking for a strawman argument and talking about things that don’t even factor in.

                      “I read about this being very problematic in New Orleans,”

                      To keep things simple and prevent statements that are unverified or not comparable I purposely limited the discussion to NYC Charter Schools. A lot of propaganda has been spread around by the teachers union and others because Charter Schools have been a success.

                      Charter Schools that are not successful can be closed down. I don’t know of a good study of Charter Schools in Louisiana but I don’t think there isn’t any proof that on average they did not perform equally or better than the comparable public schools. A lot of the comparisons that have been made to promote public schools have been comparing richer public schools with educated parents to schools in poor areas where the parents were uneducated. You are not being careful with your data so I will not respond to the rest of what you wrote.

                    14. It’s quite challenging to get someone to understand something when her salary depends on not understanding it.

                    15. Allan,
                      “Do not you think it more important for children that when they show up to work (school) to be dressed accordingly?”

                      Free speech does not generally cover hair or dress. Public schools have a dress code. Unfortunately, it is all too often not enforced. There is a public school near me that has a dress code of khakis and polos.

                    16. “Free speech does not generally cover hair or dress. Public schools have a dress code. Unfortunately, it is all too often not enforced.”

                      You are upending your arguments. You brought up Tinker and free speech, which I believe to be the wrong argument in the wrong place.

                      You used that issue to unfavorably compare Charter Schools to public schools saying the former didn’t have to accept it. I quote you,” because the very fact that it doesn’t apply to Charter schools is the problem”.

                      Clothing, contrary to what you say is part of free speech, and yes schools should have the right to limit that type of free speech as well.

                      I am no longer sure of what your arguments against Charter Schools are. Perhaps you want to restate them.

                    17. Allan,
                      “The children are permitted to yell and scream whenever they wish.”

                      Well-run public schools do not permit this either. Free speech is about content not volume.

                    18. “Well-run public schools do not permit this either. Free speech is about content not volume.”

                      Again you are upending your arguments. The Charter Schools that were under study recognized this fact of life and maintained decorum while the public schools do not.

                      It seems you have changed your mind regarding Charter Schools.

                    19. Allan,
                      “What recourse did the population have in the studied population? Apparently little or none for their problem of a poor public school system has existed for decades.

                      The Charter Schools gave this population very noticeable recourse and we saw that in action. Parents and children voted with their feet.”

                      And I have said that I am very sympathetic to families in these completely dysfunctional systems.

                      However, it is not just the parents who get to decide the use of taxpayer funds. It is the taxpayers. What can be done to improve the self-governance in these communities?

                      Are many of the property owners actually outside these districts (absentee landlords?), so they aren’t paying enough attention? Are the property owners older and do not have kids in the system, so they erroneously think they are no longer part of school district concerns? Are the districts simply too big so communication and a sense of community is hampered? Who represents people living in public housing?

                    20. >>”The Charter Schools gave this population very noticeable recourse and we saw that in action. Parents and children voted with their feet.”
                      >”And I have said that I am very sympathetic to families in these completely dysfunctional systems.”

                      Sympathy is nice, but what about the children that will remain uneducated? Should the parents be forced to wait for a few more generations when there is a reasonable solution that already exists?

                      ” What can be done to improve the self-governance in these communities?”

                      Let them vote with their feet.

                      “Are many of the property owners actually outside these districts (absentee landlords?), so they aren’t paying enough attention? ”

                      Likely the property owners approve of Charter Schools if they know and understand what they mean. Though I don’t remember if property ownership was mentioned in the study I think we can assume the children lived in rental apartments.

                      You seem to be grabbing at straws in order to place enough fault on others so that you can say there is no need for Charter Schools.

                      To answer most of the questions and most of the others you think of in the future the problem lies with the city government. It is predominantly run by democrats with an occasional Republican when the city edges towards bankruptcy.

                    21. Art Deco,
                      “It’s quite challenging to get someone to understand something when her salary depends on not understanding it.”

                      I am not employed by any district. I homeschool.

          3. ” The witless social ideology”

            You mistake cunning for stupidity. It is their INTENTION to create disorder. The disorder then is aimed at US.

            The purpose of the induced disorder is to weaponize the urban lumpen hordes against the American working and middle classes, to pave the way for the social “reforms” ie social engineering desired by global billionaires who have been financing these changes for decades.

            it is time for conservatives to understand that the global plutocratic enemies of law and order are cunning and malevolent. They call the tune and all these lesser mediocrities respond to their cues. They are not witless they are following orders. And actually they are often the more capable “human resources” picked off by the system and paid well to execute the plan.

            As this has deepened to an almost irreversible point, as we see from the past 4 years of malingering and foot dragging by the federal elites, the need to take sufficiently forceful action against that top tier has never been greater than now.

            The bureaucratic elites are an army of mercenaries. Can never adequate squash them without first smashing the head.

            Such action almost certainly has to come from within the federal agencies that are lawfully tasked with such difficult assignments.

        1. I am not homophobic. That implies that I am afraid of queers, and I am only afraid of male queers to the point of getting cooties off them, or catching HIV/AIDS, or whatever God-awful disease they get from playing in poop. And, therefore, I do not get close enough to them on a personal level to worry about that. I am not afraid at all of Lesbians, and have had several friends who were lesbian, and I have even been mistaken for one on occasion myself due to several personal habits.

          I think a better word for me is – homogynist. (You know, like a misogynist.) Someone who just doesn’t like queers.And even there, that only applies some of the time with them when they are acting like queer sex is normal, or pederasty. I wonder if Oxford is giving prizes out for making up new words??? Because I think I maybe just invented “homogynist.”

          And, I do not have any special hate for Muslims. I am coming to respect them more and more as time goes on, and I think Christians have a lot to learn from them, like how to quit putting up with secular BeeEss.

          Squeeky Fromm
          Girl Reporter

          1. You clearly don’t understand the meanings of the word roots you’re using.

            Misogyny comes from the Greek roots “misein” (“to hate”) and “gynē” (“woman”). One would think you’d be familiar with words like misanthropy, misandry, and gynecologist. If you’re going to craft a new word, it would be something like misohomosexual or homosexualmisia.

            You’re extremely bigoted. Simple enough?

  6. While it was unconstitutional to fire the teacher, most Americans have always believed “All Lives Matter”, but the “Black Lives Matter” supporters have also been unjustly portrayed. The BLM movement is really about a violation of the 14th Amendment and Bill of Rights.

    For example: most police chiefs nationwide and criminal justice experts agree that marijuana usage is about the same in the inner-cities as in the suburbs. If police chiefs allowed pretext stops and “Stop & Frisk” warrantless searches of more affluent kids in the suburbs, the parents of those suburban kids have the connections and wherewithal to sue the police departments or reform laws. Police chiefs know that poor residents are the easier targets for obtaining revenue and usually can’t fight back.

    Since poor residents have more in-person contact with police, there is a greater chance of mistakes and deadly encounters. The U.S. Department of Justice “Ferguson Report” in 2014 (available online) also found that small police departments simply don’t have sufficient revenue to have their own police department. Many small police departments should be acquired by either the State Police or a larger city. Lack of tax revenue forces small police departments to become “revenue-officers” instead of safety-officers, preying on poor people (predominantly African-Americans).

    The principal shouldn’t have been fired but “Black Lives Matter” is a legitimate organization. Because of unequal enforcement, in violation of the 14th Amendment and Bill of Rights, “Black Lives Matter” is totally legitimate. All lives matter but that’s not the real issue.

    1. AZ – Please squeeze this in “Marxist” between legitimate and organization. They’re far from being the Rotary Club, Elks Club or Knights of Columbus.

    2. Learn to tell the difference between speculation and fact. Post a reference to an actual violation of the 14th Amendment. Post actual statistics demonstrating your assertions.

    3. Don’t attack the police. Don’t point a weapon at police. Don’t try to steal their weapon. Don’t reach for a weapon. All of these are legal reasons for the cops to take ‘kill’ shots, not shooting them in the leg, which is ineffective…

  7. The good folks who fired Riley DO NOT EXPECT TO PREVAIL in court, and they never did. They know if Riley sues, that she will win. The whole point is INTIMIDATION. To make people afraid to disagree with the DNC Narrative because who wants to have to hire a lawyer and go thru all the hassle.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    1. Squeaky, years ago this happened to writers who wrote articles waring the American public about Islamist activities. The writers were sued and most didn’t have the money or where with all to stop the suits. A non-profit was started with cash and discounted legal aid. The writers sued back and did depositions which the Islamist groups didn’t want to attend for the depositions would prove the writers correct. Most of that law-fare disappeared.

      Actions of this type should lead to suits against the school district and against some of the individuals involved even where the suit is known unlikely to be a winner.

    2. The good folks who fired Riley DO NOT EXPECT TO PREVAIL in court, and they never did.

      It’s doubtful that the half-dozen or so people who perpetrated this get much critical feedback from people outside their little bubble. Maybe they have legal counsel, but it’s most likely a general practice attorney who does drunk-driving cases, simple estates, uncontested divorces, and real-estate closings.

  8. “critical of Employee’s non-attendance at the BLM rally”

    Who dares to be the first to stop applauding?

  9. What is the 2020 election about? Free speech and civil liberties.

    The democrats are saying: ‘do as I say not as I do’.

          1. Do the individual states bare any responsibility? We do have a federalist system after all, and all the states have made their own distinct rules…

              1. “But Trump has more responsibility than anyone else.”

                Only with regard to federal issues. How to run a state is governed by the State Constitution and the political leaders.

            1. Mercy 7777 is correct. This is a federalist system. It is surprising how often those without a credible position resort to name calling. It was the States that caused massive unemployment not Trump. Each state orders mask and social distance. Last why do people insist that the government force them to do what they know to do already.

  10. Why am I not surprised that this happened in the Peoples Republic. What is scary is that it could happen anywhere in this country and that it is subtly (or not so subtly) endorsed by those seeking a return to power

  11. Chuckles. Another indication, in case you needed one, that liberals cannot be trusted with discretion over normal people. Here we have countless man-hours wasted while they make fools of themselves.

    1. “…that liberals cannot be trusted with discretion over normal people.”

      lol

      Do you consider yourself “normal,” Arty?

          1. Remove the O from the first 5 letters of Anonymous, then shorten the name like you would when you shorten Elizabeth to Lizzy (FYI: This whole comment is dripping with sarcasm)…

  12. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republic of Vermont and their thought police. All lives matter and we are all children of a loving God who created us in His image. That truth can never erased no matter how much the totalitarians try.

  13. My thanks to Professor Turley for laying out the legal case.
    I would add that coerced speech is not free speech, and that in a healthy body politic, speech is contested, not coerced.
    Free speech is not only a question of preventing the government from suppressing speech or punishing those who express views of which it disapproves. The role of government is merely formal. In practice, whether individuals are free to express their opinions without fear of retaliation is either a societal norm and a cultural value, or it is not. If it is not, then the society is closed, not open, and the culture is authoritarian, not liberal.
    Freedom of speech was the first of FDR’s four freedoms, but too many now believe that only those with whom they agree should be allowed to speak freely without fear of retaliation. But if anyone is punished for expressing an opinion to which someone objects, then everyone’s speech is circumscribed.
    Self-censorship is still censorship, and the suppression of speech by private companies and school boards is still suppression of speech.
    With the best of intentions, we seem to have stumbled into a new McCarthy era, so I hope that Ms. Riley sues and wins, not only for her sake, but for all of ours.

  14. We are discussing Freedom of Speech within our educational system and no one is looking at the larger situation including Professor Turley.

    As one poster noted, and quite correctly did so, the curtailment of free speech is just a symptom or result of the indoctrination (in my view “Brain Washing”) our “Educators” are committing every day in our schools at every level K-12, college, and university.

    It is the pushing of the Leftist Agenda and Dogma….teaching our Kids WHAT to think rather than teaching them Critical Thinking.

    Those doing the current teaching are themselves victims of that exact same kind of teaching….which began in earnest in the late 1960’s and has only continued till today.

    We have to root out that cancer from our educational system before we have any hope for the exercise of free speech is possible.

    Take the Case Professor Turley….sue the people that did this, sue the School System, and sue the Board of Commissioners in the County who fund that School System.

  15. I am truly surprised that social media oligarchs have not locked her accounts. The deaths will continue to mount, first journalism, now free speech,

  16. Professor, this is about so much more than free speech. It is about thought control by the state. Totalitarian behavior.

  17. Vermont. Ver Mont. Queer Mountain. Lame Ducks. Went in dumb, come out dumb too.
    Think their itShay don’t stink. Wish I had a watermelon. Wish Cotton was a monkey.

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