The purpose of this paper is to highlight current U.S. Supreme Court precedents regarding public employee speech on matters of public concern, and how those precedents are being applied by lower federal courts to public school administrators. Surveying the current legal landscape reveals a heightened vulnerability for school administrators engaging in speech on matters of public importance. Due to the complexity of the school administrator’s job, the vast scope of their responsibilities, and the uniqueness of their position (which often entails being a spokesperson of sort for the school district), the speech of public school administrators, even on matters of public concern, often lacks the legal protection many assume exists for such speech. This paper is intended to raise awareness for both practitioners and those who train them with the hope that a better understanding of recent litigation in this area will help inform one’s practice and preparation.
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