Freedom of Speech of the Public School Teacher
Courts, until recent years, when deciding whether teachers surrender their right of free speech by accepting employment in the public schools, have almost universally held that the rights of teachers as individuals are subordinate to the rights of school boards as public employers. In applying the principle of stare decisis, courts had continuously relied upon cases reasoned along the lines of early American decisions in which the courts considered the exemplar responsibility of the teacher as the only material issue. Because of this judicial outlook, teachers have had great difficulty defending against dismissal or other disciplinary action by their employing school boards after having expressed themselves to the displeasure of their superiors. Although the amount of litigation dealing with this problem has been rather sparse until the last decade, development in this area is rapidly progressing since the courts have begun adopting a more liberal attitude with regard to the rights of the individual.