Suit: School district violating teachers' rights

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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A federal suit filed this week in Indianapolis accuses a school district of violating teachers' constitutional rights by blocking access to two political Web sites relating to the board's actions and removal of the superintendent.

This is the third suit lodged against the Perry Township School Board since November, when the board voted to place Superintendent H. Douglas Williams on paid administrative leave pending a review of his performance.

Filed by Perry Education Association President Terry Rice and Southport Elementary School teacher Sherrie Williamson, the suit alleges that school board president Susan Adams told the interim superintendent to have access blocked to and from school computers. They want Judge David F. Hamilton to declare the district's singling out and blocking the two Web sites and restore access. No other sites were targeted, the suit says.

Both want to access these sites "to receive news, information, and opinions regarding the betterment of the school," the suit says, noting that both retain a First Amendment right to do so. "There is no content-neutral basis for distinguishing between the (two) and any other political news, information, and/or opinion website which is accessible from the school's computers and Internet service."

Additionally, the suit notes that the school district does not have a specific policy outlining what constitutes an "educationally valid website" or why a site would be disruptive to the educational process. As a result, the ban is considered "arbitrary, standard less, (and) constitutes content-based discrimination."

This recent suit comes a week after Williams reached a settlement in principle with the district, which be will be voted on at the July 9 board meeting. Williams had sued the board in May, and Chief Judge Larry McKinney ruled last month that Nancy Walsh, school board vice president, was too biased to vote on his firing. A settlement would end that suit and any potential appeal.

However, another suit filed by community organization Take Back Perry Schools asked a judge to reinstate Williams. That suit in Marion Circuit Court remains on hold and could hinge on the board's action on the settlement.

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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.