Appeals Court Hears Case for Teachers’ Free Speech

Appeals Court Hears Case for Teachers’ Free Speech

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard a case on Monday against an Oregon school district for allegedly barring free speech.

Katie Medart was a science teacher, and Rachel Sager (formerly Damiano) was an assistant principal within Oregon’s Grant Pass School District No. 7. They both were fired in 2021 for posting a gender policy proposal on social media and on their own online platform, outside of school. Sager and Medart, professing Christians, founded “I Resolve,” an organization geared toward changing school policy to protect teachers’ and students’ rights to follow their consciences by refraining from using pronouns inconsistent with a student’s sex and by not allowing biological males into female-designated restrooms and locker rooms.

Medart and Sager submitted their suggestions to school administration. But some of their coworkers took issue with their speech and complained to administrators that it was biased and “anti-trans.” In April of 2021, they were both fired by a vice principal.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), along with Pacific Justice Institute, helped them contest the district’s decision. A federal judge ruled in favor of the district last year, and ADF appealed.

Spectators filled the courtroom in Portland, Oregon, on Monday to hear the arguments before the three-judge panel. The judges seemed to question the district attorney, Beth Plass, on the constitutionality of the district’s actions and policies that seemingly bar free speech for teachers.

ADF Attorney Mathew Hoffman argued that mere disagreement, widespread or not, with a teacher’s viewpoint does not justify censorship of constitutionally protected speech.

“Educators don’t give up their First Amendment rights at the schoolhouse gate, and public schools can’t retaliate against speech with which they disagree,” Hoffman said in a press release Friday. “Advocating for solutions they believe in should not cost teachers their jobs, especially when it comes to education policy, a topic on which they are uniquely qualified to speak. Teachers should be free to advocate for the good of their students. We are urging the 9th Circuit to make clear that government employers can’t discipline someone for expressing her views on such an important issue.”

Photo: Alliance Defending Freedom

Subscribe to Decision Email Devotional

Subscribe to Decision Email Devotional

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

About Us     Contact Us     Privacy
©2024 Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. BGEA is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.