The board believes the district has an interest in maintaining an orderly and effective work environment while balancing employees First Amendment rights to freedom of expression and diverse viewpoints and beliefs. When employees speak within their official capacity, their expression represents the district and may be regulated. The First Amendment protects a public employee’s speech when the employee is speaking as an individual citizen on a matter of public concern. Even so, employee expression that has an adverse impact on district operations and/or negatively impacts an employee’s ability to perform their job for the district may still result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.
Employees who use social media platforms are encouraged to remember that the school community may not be able to separate employees as private citizens from their role within the district. Employee expression on social media platforms that interferes with the district’s operations or prevents the district from functioning efficiently and effectively may be subject to discipline up to and including termination.
A district employee who acts to protect a student for engaging in free expression or who refuses to infringe on students engaging in free expression and who is acting within the scope of their professional ethics will not be retaliated against or face any adverse employment action based on their behavior provided that expression is otherwise permitted by law and board policy.
If the Linn-Mar Board of Directors or the courts finds that an employee who is subject to licensure, certification, or authorization by the Board of Educational Examiners discriminated against a student or other co-employee, the school board will refer the employee to the Board of Educational Examiners for additional proceedings as required by law and which may result in discipline up to and including termination.
Related Policy: 403.21; 403.35
Legal Reference (Code of Iowa): §§ 279.73-74; 280.22
IASB Reference: 401.14