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The First Amendment rights of teachers and other school employees-whether they can speak out on various topics and freely associate with the political party of their choice-have been the subject of several Supreme Court cases. In general, the Court has protected speech that is related to issues of community interest but not to internal office operations; it has found that political affiliation may be the basis of hiring and firing for policy-making employees but not for others. This entry briefly summarizes those cases.

Free Speech

In the context of examining the political rights of teachers and other public school employees, it is worth noting that the U.S. Supreme Court first constructed a test for deciding under what circumstances public employers, including school boards, could dismiss employees for ...

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