A court decision on the free-speech rights of Jackson public school teachers and staff could have repercussions throughout Mississippi.
Jess Dickinson, a former state Supreme Court justice who was assigned to hear the case in Hinds County, ruled that the Jackson district was violating the First Amendment by setting policies that banned teachers and other employees from talking with parents, the press or anyone else about problems they see in the schools, or writing about them on social media.
Dickinson rightly said such policies not only infringe on the free-speech rights of school employees but they also impede school improvement by keeping a lid on information that might spur the public’s call for remedial action.
Jackson is not the only school district that tries to muzzle employees. The tactic is commonly used by superintendents and school boards.
Dickinson’s ruling should put them on notice.