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Readers' forum: Confused about free speech

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  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Sept. 3, 2011 10:45 p.m.

    Re: spring street | 4:53 p.m. Aug. 31, 2011
    "So on one side we have the experts in their respective fields"

    The only thing you can be certain of is that experts in their respective fields can and will change their opinions when new evidence on a given topic is discovered.

    One thing the experts can't explain away is the anatomical differences between men and women and the reasons for those differences.

  • Christy Beaverton, OR
    Aug. 31, 2011 10:38 p.m.

    This is what the teacher posted on his FB page:

    "I'm watching the news, eating dinner, when the story about the New York okaying same sex unions came on and I almost threw up. And now they showed two guys kissing after their announcement. If they want to call it a union, go ahead. But dont insult a man and womans marriage by throwing it in the same cesspool of whatever. God will not be mocked. When did this sin become acceptable?

    And the letter writer is under the impression that 'a majority of Americans' agree with the teacher?

    I don't think so.

    Also, a teacher with 700+ FB friends, spouting off like that? Pretty foolish behavior.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Aug. 31, 2011 10:05 p.m.

    My best bet is the teacher wins some gigantic settlement, gets his job back or some combination of both.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 31, 2011 6:30 p.m.

    Why is anyone confused? the supreme court ruled in favor of free speech, the school board did not.

    Different sets of people do at times make different decisions.

  • spring street SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 31, 2011 4:53 p.m.

    So on one side we have the experts in their respective fields and the years of research they have done and on the other we have rifleman and his common man observations from having grown up on a farm. hmmm thats a tough one, while I have a great deal of respect for the common man, I think I am going with the experts on this one sorry.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Aug. 31, 2011 2:41 p.m.

    Re: Bubble | 11:42 a.m. Aug. 31, 2011

    I grew up on a farm and understood about the birds and the bees at a very early age. There are very specific differences between male and female mammals and I am not confused about what goes where and why.

  • Provo Boy Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 31, 2011 2:31 p.m.

    It's interesting to me that so many people describe his vitriolic comments as his "views on gay marriage." I believe that a teacher should have more respect when stating his opinion publicly. That said, I still believe in his right to say it. And the teacher has since been reinstated.

    Now, I think he needs to be suspended again. It has now been reported that his class syllabus states that he teaches "God's truth." This is where we should be drawing the line. How many of you would be comfortable with a teacher who's syllabus said that they teach the "truth according to Allah"? Teaching your own religion has no place in our public schools.

  • Bubble SLC, UT
    Aug. 31, 2011 11:42 a.m.

    @rifleman
    Actually as I stated before the psychological, medical and genetic field or in other words the professionals have very clearly stated the jury is back and it is not any more a disease then the color of your hair or eyes.

    The American Medical Association, the America Pedantic society, the American Psychological Association the National Association of Social Workers and on and on all have statements on their website that clearly state homosexuality is not an decease or abnormality or any other aggetive you may think up for the same thing, but I am sure you will go on believing you are far wiser then all the experts right?

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Aug. 31, 2011 11:09 a.m.

    Re: Bubble | 5:27 p.m. Aug. 30, 2011
    "Homosexuality is not perceived as a disease"

    The jury is still out on the reasons why approximately 3% of the population suffer from abnormalities associated with homosexuality.

  • Sorry Charlie! SLC, UT
    Aug. 31, 2011 9:52 a.m.

    @procuradorfiscal

    I am not sure george could have been any more clear I think the rest of us got it. Since Pegan did not actually make such a comment on this thread your questions a strange reach to say the least, but I will play along with your hypothetical, IF Pegan where a teacher and IF the school had the same policy and IF they where to make such a comment on their facebook then yes pegan should be sanctioned. Maybe its time for you to face the fact that your straw man has no legs and move on.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Aug. 31, 2011 9:28 a.m.

    Re: "If the teacher advocating for evolution where to use language such as referring to those that oppose evolution as make him want to throw-up . . . then yes that teacher should be sanctioned . . . ."

    So, if our friend Pagan/en/un/in/yn is a teacher, he should be sanctioned?

  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    Aug. 31, 2011 8:34 a.m.

    Under Federal Law you may not be fired for being a member of a protected class, i.e. a racial minority, because of age, etc. Some states also have laws that protect employment beyond Federal laws. But in the main, common law permits employers to hire and fire employees "at will". Generally, you have the right to say what you want without government reprisal, but this right can be restricted in the public interest if your speech is false and or damaging. In short, the old adage is "you can't yell fire in crowded theater" unless of course, there is one.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 11:39 p.m.

    Appearantly, this letter writer doesn't know the difference between Free Speech and bigotry.

    Tell you what - try substituting Race, Religion, Gender, or Age and see how far you get.

    You are free to say what you want - but you can and will be held accountable.

  • Bubble SLC, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 5:27 p.m.

    @rifleman
    what it all boils down to is your distorted perception of reality.

    Homosexuality is not perceived as a disease within the medical or psychological fields and the gene that supposedly effects orientation is not considered defective in the medical or genetics field but nice try.

  • Sorry Charlie! SLC, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 5:22 p.m.

    @the real maverick
    may I refer you back to ECR's comment at 7:52 am Atl134's comment at 11:00 am Roland kaysers comment at 12:31 pm, spoiler alerts comment at 2:26 pm and george's comment at 3:21 PM. They all have already addressed the comment you made. In the future you may want ti read the thread before commenting if you want people to take you serious.
    As all the above referenced posters have already stated in one form or another. The issue is not the teacher opposition but how he choose to express his views and yes if a person supporting gay marriage where to use such language they to should be subject to the same type of scrutiny as long as the policy is in place.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Aug. 30, 2011 5:11 p.m.

    What it all boils down to is a man wrote something on his face book page that isn't politically correct and the thought police want to punish him for it. The end result is that he will be perceived as a martyr which will strengthen the resolve of those who believe in traditional families.

    Speculation is that homosexuality is caused by a defective gene and if that is the case there is hope in the future for those who suffer from this abnormality.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 4:06 p.m.

    Free speech is all relative.

    think a teacher pro-gay marriage would still have a job here?

  • George Bronx, NY
    Aug. 30, 2011 3:21 p.m.

    @procuradorfiscal
    If the teacher advocating for evolution where to use language such as referring to those that oppose evolution as make him want to throw-up or that they are a cesspool then yes that teacher should be sanctioned if the school board has a policy in place similar to this school boards policy. It was how the teacher choose to express his opposition to gay marriages not his opposition to it that got him in hot water. As I stated before the best thing would be for there not to be these policies becuse of the high risk of infringing on free speech and the fact there is no way to guarantee they are applied equitably but while they do they should be applied as equitably as possible.

  • George Bronx, NY
    Aug. 30, 2011 3:10 p.m.

    @charles
    Teachers facebook post "I'm watching the news, eating dinner, when the story about the New York okaying same sex unions came on and I almost threw up. And now they showed two guys kissing after their announcement. If they want to call it a union, go ahead. But dont insult a man and womans marriage by throwing it in the same cesspool of whatever. God will not be mocked. When did this sin become acceptable?
    I find the comments about almost throwing up and calling gay marriage a cesspool inflammatory. So please explain to us how this statement is factual? Not your personal or religious belief but actually based in verifiable fact.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 3:06 p.m.

    Re: "Please find a different topic to compare . . . ."

    What'd I tell ya -- liberals heads exploding.

    My example is perfectly valid. If a school board suspends, then disciplines a teacher caught espousing his opinions in support of evolution, not in the classroom, but on his own computer, in his own home, on his own Facebook page, liberal posters advocating punishment for this teacher should applaud the school board's actions -- if they're to be consistent.

    Of course, neither consistency nor common sense has ever been a hallmark of liberal thought.

  • Tanguero Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 2:34 p.m.

    RE: procuradorfiscal | 1:40 p.m. Aug. 30, 2011 Tooele, UT

    Your comparison with evolution is a ridiculous since evolution is much more widely accepted in the scientific community with sufficient data to support it. The fossil record is very clear, and Darwin's observations have been substantiated by research over the last 150 years.

    If the school has a realistic and sensible science program, it would be teaching evolution as part of the cirriculum. The only controversial aspect of evolution is with those fundamentalists who feel threatened by knowledge.

    Please find a different topic to compare and provide an explaination of your opinion. Just because there is belief/faith doesn't make it a reality. There are many who still believe the earth is flat, the solar system revolves around the earth, and the sun rides on the back of a giant turtle as it crosses the sky.

  • Spoiler Alert Eagle Mountain, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 2:26 p.m.

    @ procuradorfiscal

    if a school board does exactly what this one did to this teacher, only the teacher, instead of opposing gay marriage, is caught espousing evolution -- that would be OK with liberals, right?

    ==========
    One is teaching science in the classroom (a teacher's job), the other is saying that gay marriage makes him want to vomit (not a teacher's job). If the teacher had said "The belief in God makes me want to vomit" I would be just as upset as I am over these comments.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 1:40 p.m.

    Re: "It isn't a left-wing or right-wing thing, it is just a matter of professionalism."

    No, it's a left-wing thing.

    Just to prove it [watch liberals' heads explode here] -- if a school board does exactly what this one did to this teacher, only the teacher, instead of opposing gay marriage, is caught espousing evolution -- that would be OK with liberals, right?

    Yeah, it's not a left or right-wing thing, it's just a matter of professionalism -- unless the ox being gored is a liberal ox.

  • Nichiro-san Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 1:15 p.m.

    Note to anyone looking for a job and given to questionable expressions of opinion, lifestyle, or self:

    Anyone using social networks to express their views as a means of self-expression must understand that these sources are referenced by Human Resources people in determining their potential for a position with a company. It becomes just another tool for making a determination regarding character and risk for the company

    Also, these sources of self-expression may provide information of a person's negative attitudes towards society and the possibility they might be a liability to those around them. Remember Icelandic mass shooter of late? He expressed his opinion, but no one seemed to consider him a threat until he acted.

  • Gus Talwynd Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 1:01 p.m.

    What? You mean I can't tell off my boss and still keep my job? What if I only tell her how ugly her daughter is? Isn't this free speech?

    Do my think my saying anything my boss doesn't like or agree with can be grounds for dismissal?

    Is this a free country or not? I don't get it!

  • Dektol Powell, OH
    Aug. 30, 2011 12:38 p.m.

    It is OK for High School administrators to talk about 'freedoms' but they don't have to live them.

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 12:26 p.m.

    @Mountanman

    How have Glenn Beck's free speech rights been denied? The last time I checked, he had a radio program broadcast for free across government-owned frequencies, his Internet show is broadcast across a government-provided network infrastructure. He hold rallies on government property in DC, flies on planes that are flying through government-regulated airspace and kept safe by government air traffic controllers. Please expain to me how his free speech rights are being violated by the "liberals."

  • @Charles the greater outdoors, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 11:32 a.m.

    @Grover: again, you are wrong. Did the teacher sign a contract? If so, there was nothing in the contract about posting on Facebook or any other site. The school district has issued guidelines about these things.

    In reading the guidelines it would be hard pressed to identify what guideline he broke. Did you actually read what the teacher posted?

    @George: what were the "inflammatory" statements of the teacher? Did you read them? I did and I didn't find them "inflammatory" in any way. In fact, I found them to be quite straightforward and factual.

    I do agree with you though that the long arm of the school district should stop at it's sidewalk.

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 11:20 a.m.

    @procuradorfiscal

    I also work for the government. I am not allowed to hold partisan politcal office. Isn't that an infrigement on my free speech rights? If I choose to run for a city council position that is partisan, I'll be fired, even if that position is only after-hours. I'm also not allowed to use a government email address to promote politcal candidates, political causes, or anything like that. If I do, I can be immediately terminated. It is part of the rules of conduct that I agreed to. I surely won't go to jail for violating those rules so I will still be "free," I just won't be employed.

    It isn't a left-wing or right-wing thing, it is just a matter of professionalism.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 11:16 a.m.

    @procuradorfiscal;

    School boards (and teachers by extension) work FOR the government, they are not the government.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 11:12 a.m.

    @Tekakaromatagi;

    The first amendment protects you from the Government taking action against you for your speech. It has never prevented an employer from taking action against you for it. Many employers could fire you for either pro or anti speech for any number of issues.

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 11:07 a.m.

    @procuradorfiscal

    I too work for the government, as a soldier. I have a Constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of speech. But, if I tell my supervisor what I really think of him, I can expect there to be serious consequences.

    Legal charges were not filed against the teacher, so his 1st amendment rights were not violated. The argument he works for the government, if anything, should restrict that right even further, since what he says can be construed to represent the government.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 11:05 a.m.

    @ECR;

    I disagree. How many of his facebook "friends" are his students?

    I have worked in positions of authority and was required to sign agreements that my conduct (including speech) outside of work could be used in assessing my future with the company.

    Public teachers have a responsibility to the PUBLIC, which includes the children they teach. That includes ALL children, including those who identify as GLBT. A teacher's words outside the classroom, that are made in a public forum (yes, Facebook IS a public forum) that are clearly violently against a segment of the population, which may include his students are completely inappropriate and could be interpreted by those students in a way that makes them feel unsafe in his classroom.

    Children should be able to feel that school is a SAFE environment. Teachers should be their source of succor in times of need and if you think a GLBT student could ever feel safe going to this teacher (for anything), I sincerely beg to differ.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 11:01 a.m.

    @T-Jeff
    "If that is the case, then an employer has the right to terminate any employee that lives in a homosexual relationship if they disagree with that lifestyle, right?"

    In Utah, among other places, you can do that. That's why gay rights activists push for the job anti-discrimination stuff that passed in Salt Lake City and several other cities to be done at a state level.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 11:00 a.m.

    @three11stu

    "I wonder how people here would be reacting had the teacher said he supported gay rights and then got fired for that."

    That depends on how he said it. If he'd stuck to just a generic statement for or against gay marriage that's different than the vitriolic tone he used in his actual message. If someone had made a pro-gay marriage statement that included something like that Mormons make him want to vomit... then yeah I'd support the suspension for him too.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 10:01 a.m.

    Re: "Freedom of speech, as I understand it, is the right to say whatever you want . . . without any form of punishment or reprisal from the GOVERNMENT."

    Uh, teachers work for the government.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Aug. 30, 2011 9:40 a.m.

    Let's get this straight...the Supreme Court has never protected "pornography" under the 1st Amendment (see Miller v Calif, 1973). Communities are free to prohibit it if they want. Our letter writer needs to check the facts. As for the teacher, he was NOT fired--although the soundness of his judgment is surely in question.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Aug. 30, 2011 9:31 a.m.

    George - Thanks for your explanation. If, in fact, that policy exists then school has a right to take action - as misguided as it is.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Aug. 30, 2011 9:08 a.m.

    I know that people have been fired for expressing the views against SSM so when this happened I sent an e-mail to the school district talking about respecting freedom of speech. In retrospect, the teacher had signed an agreement not to vent in a public forum.

    Having said that, RanchHand's comment: "Freedom of speech doesn't grant immunity from consequences of said speech." Yes it does.

    Besides, who gets to decide if your speech is offensive and if you are going to lose your job for it?

    One of the best things that I learned at the University of Utah was multiculturalism. Not because of some program by the UofU, but from experiencing people who said incredibly ignorant and sometimes conflicting things about Mormons and Utah. I learned the risks of trying to interpret things over a cultural fence.

    If intolerant speech had been banned, I would never had that experience.

  • George Bronx, NY
    Aug. 30, 2011 8:45 a.m.

    @ ECR: I agree that it is important to respect and support the rights of people, even those I disagree with, to speak their opinion.

    The school district this teacher works for has a policy that states that facebook and other social media outlets are not private and gives guidelines for posting on such sites.

    This teacher was aware of the policy and posted inflammatory statements anyway. He has a right to post those statements, the school district has a right to see if the policy was violated.

    The teacher was placed in an administrative position for 3 days while the issue was investigated, he was not fired, his pay was not reduced. At the end of that 3 days, it was determined no violation had occurred, and he returned to his normal duties.

    Students at various schools have been suspended for outside activities, including posts on facebook and sexting.

    This isn't about free speech - this is about school policies that regulate outside of school activities. IMNSHO, such policies are bogus and should be done away with entirely.

    While they exist, they must be applied equally and those who willingly subject themselves to such policies are accountable for violations.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Aug. 30, 2011 8:29 a.m.

    That's because we don't have free speech in relation to employment, even if you aren't at work.

    If I somehow got on national television and slammed my employer - I'd get fired.

    Work contracts are not the same as the first amendment that guantees the GOVERNMENT won't arrest you or shut you up for opinion. Unless you make a threat or something like that obviously.

    Or try telling your boss what you really think for once and see what happens.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 8:29 a.m.

    It isn't the free for all you imply, you have to be an adult to get porn, vote, and die for your country NOT any ol' age
    I see people get carded for video games here in happy valley as often as they Id for smokes or beer.

    What if a teacher in Utah posted the temple rites on his facebook and made fun of them.

    How well do you think that would go over?

    We can't all be shock jocks like glenn and sean, some people work in the real world.

  • glendenbg Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 8:29 a.m.

    A relevant point that has yet to be raised concerns the teacher's role. A teacher, as employee of the school board is also (potentially) a spokesperson for the school district; he or she often speaks on behalf of the district. The reason it is unconstitional for teachers and school administrations to organize and lead school prayer is grounded in the notion that as employees of the public, such actions constitute a violation students' freedom of religion and amount to use of public resources to endorse specific faiths.

    In this case, the question concerned whether or not the teacher was speaking in his official capacity as an employee of the district. Certainly, his statements would raise valid questions about his ability to treat glbt students with respect in his classroom, something the district, as his employer, has a right to explore. Calling it a violation of his freedom of speech is a red herring. He is free to speak his mind, but doing so raises questions about his job performance (in the same way a firefighter expressing admiration for arson might be troubling).

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 8:25 a.m.

    @T-Jeff,

    If that is the case, then an employer has the right to terminate any employee that lives in a homosexual relationship if they disagree with that lifestyle, right? I think you and the people that recommended your comment had better re-think your position. Or are the rights we have limited to those that promote your agenda?
    ===========

    He absolutely does if that is spelled out in his terms of employment, or if his lifestyle is interferring with his work. For example, it is perfectly legal to consume alcohol, but if my doing it in excess impedes my ability to work, I cannot expect to be employed very long. Or on the other side, working for the LDS church often requires a temple recommend, so someone engaging in homosexual behavior can be terminated.
    In this case the teacher limited his ability to work, or effectiveness as a teacher, by placing what he did on Facebook. Teachers are far more "teachers" "mentors" would be a far more accurate description of what they do. Sutdents are going to be more hesitant to ask for the help they may need in life from him now.

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 7:53 a.m.

    The teacher's first amendment rights were not infringed. He was not held criminally liable, nor were criminal charges pressed against him. He was suspended for violating the terms of his employment contract, and what he did was just dumb.
    There are times when I want to post something on my Facebook account, but do not because I know who might read this. If he had gay students, this was not the smartest thing to do.
    If the teacher had posted pornographic or obscene material, then any reasonable person would expect the teacher to be fired and have criminal charges brought against him, even though pornography is protected under the first amendment.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Aug. 30, 2011 7:52 a.m.

    To Grover, Ranchhand, and George - my usual kindred spirits in the liberal fight against conservative nonsense, I think you are wrong in your analysis of this issue. The teacher in question didn't try to influence his students in the classroom, he didn't try to present his case in his curriculum. He just simply stated an opinion on his Facebook page. A member of the school administration claimed that his comments were public comments because he had 700 friends on Facebook. Really? Because the circle of your closest friends knows your deepest feelings about an issue then it becomes a matter of public discourse? I don't think so.

    The author of this letter is incorrect to state that this is "a view held by a majority of Americans." In fact the opposite is true. But that doesn't change the fact that the teacher has a right, as a private citizen, to state his opinion. It is only when we defend that concept that we can truly say we believe in free speech.

    And Silas Brill has made an excellent point illustrating how the concept should work both ways in every state in the union.

  • John Charity Spring Alloway, NJ
    Aug. 30, 2011 7:42 a.m.

    This letter is the perfect response to those who claim that no harm comes from electing left-wing politicians. Indeed, great harm has come.

    Left-wing politicians place left-wing jurists on the Supreme Court. These jurists then ignore the beliefs of the Founding Fathers and legislate from the Bench.

    Freedom of speech protects speech, not lewd depictions of nudity. The Fathers would be appalled to learn how these judicial activists have turned the Constitution on its head to promote immorality.

    If only it were true that pornography only effected the person who watched it. Unfortunately, it effects all of us by increasing the prevelance of divorce, illegitimacy, and sex crimes. Only the most perverse would claim that this is the purpose of the 1st Amendment.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Aug. 30, 2011 7:35 a.m.

    Free speech is only for liberals. Just ask Glenn Beck or anyone else who says things liberals don't like!

  • silas brill Heber, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 7:27 a.m.

    The teacher shouldn't lose his job, IMO.

    But you should also object the Utah law that states any teacher that speaks favorably of homosexuality in any way can be fired doing so.

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 7:26 a.m.

    I didn't know the guy was in jail and his freedom taken away.

  • T-Jeff Uinta Basin, Utah
    Aug. 30, 2011 7:10 a.m.

    David King said: "An employer has the right to terminate an employee for behavior, whether words or actions, that it disagrees with..".

    If that is the case, then an employer has the right to terminate any employee that lives in a homosexual relationship if they disagree with that lifestyle, right? I think you and the people that recommended your comment had better re-think your position. Or are the rights we have limited to those that promote your agenda?

  • three11stu Saratoga Springs, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 6:57 a.m.

    I wonder how people here would be reacting had the teacher said he supported gay rights and then got fired for that. I don't believe the support would have been there for him, and people defending his free speech.
    Also, what if the teacher was on his facebook, on his own time, own computer, and stated that all of his students were idiots and he feared for our society in the future. Would you defend his speech then?

  • George Bronx, NY
    Aug. 30, 2011 6:52 a.m.

    @ Lori B. Walker: If the teacher had posted a pornographic video that glorified violence, would you be upset if the school district had suspended him?

    There are often arguments on these threads about prayer in school and other religious activities in various places. Those who think such things should be allowed quote the First Amendment and draw focus to the "Congress" part of it - claiming that school prayer is not an act of Congress and therefore is not prohibited by the First Amendment.

    They also draw that fine distinction when discussing whether or not there is (or should be) a separation of Church and State.

    Yet, reading the comment threads about this story, many of those same people seem to be claiming that the "Congress" distinction does not apply to free speech.

    Interesting splitting of hairs....

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 6:48 a.m.

    Lori;

    His free speech was not infringed upon.

    He does have to pay consequences for saying stupid things though. Freedom of speech doesn't grant immunity from consequences of said speech.

  • Grover Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 6:00 a.m.

    The teacher signed a contract saying he would not do certain things while working for his employer. He signed the contract in exchange for being employed. He violated the contract. His employer has the right to fire him at which time he regains his first amendment right to speak out on the issue albeit without a job.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Aug. 30, 2011 5:12 a.m.

    "Could someone please explain it to me because I just don't get it?"

    The explanation is that a high school adminstration in Florida is violating the free speech rights of one of its teachers. The examples the author gave of free speech granted to others disgust most civic minded citizens yet we tolerate them because that is the bargain we have made living in this country. The author is correct to be confused and disgusted by the actions of this backward thinking school adminstration. If we don't protect everyone's right of free speech - even the ones we disagree with - the day will soon come when we won't have any rights of free speech.

  • David King Layton, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 1:59 a.m.

    Freedom of speech, as I understand it, is the right to say whatever you want (with a few exceptions, like death threats) without any form of punishment or reprisal from the GOVERNMENT. It does not exempt us from the retaliation of our employers, parents, teachers, church leaders, Facebook friends, etc. Some may believe that freedom of speech means the government has to provide a forum for our speech, or protect us from all consequences of our speech, but I don't think that is the case. An employer has the right to terminate an employee for behavior, whether words or actions, that it disagrees with, just as an employee could quit over the statement of a boss. Neither one has had their freedom of speech infringed. It is the government that can take no part in punishing or censoring our freedom of speech.

  • Cole Thomas Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 1:19 a.m.

    Many employers have the right to fire or suspend you over the things you say. You have no constitutional right to a job. Employers are not obligated to employ you. This is not a very complicated or ambiguous issue.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 30, 2011 12:31 a.m.

    I support gay marriage. If you disagree with me, you have just as much right to express your opinion as I do. That's what freedom of speech means. It means nothing if it only applies to views which which I happen to agree.