Southlake Teachers Prompted to Sign Non-Disparage Agreements – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Seven months after teachers at the Carroll Independent School District in Southlake went public with their concerns about an administrator’s advice Balance books on the Holocaust With titles showing “contrasting” perspectives, district employees discovered this week that a new clause had been added to their annual employment contracts, listed under the heading “non-degradation.”
“You agree not to disparage, criticize, or defame the district and its employees or officials to the media,” the statement said.
Four Carroll teachers, who spoke on condition not to be named because they feared retaliation, said they were troubled by the new treaty language.
Officials at both the National Education Association and the Texas State Teachers Association, unions representing teachers statewide and across Texas, have condemned the treaty language as an attempt to silence teachers.
“This is the first time we’ve heard from a school district that has included this language on a teachers’ contract,” said Clay Robison, a spokesman for the Texas State Teachers Association. “It’s a denial of a teacher’s basic First Amendment rights. A teacher is also a taxpayer entitled to criticize a public school district.”
Michael Leroy, an employment law expert at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, said the non-disparagement clause appears to violate a half-century-old US Supreme Court precedent that established the right of government employees to speak out on matters of public importance to express. even if it means criticizing their employer.
Two other labor law experts agreed that a blanket ban on teachers criticizing a public school district is likely unconstitutional.
A spokeswoman for the Carroll School System, about 30 miles northwest of Dallas, did not immediately comment on the new contract clause.