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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Board refuses to revisit illegal policy

At tonight’s meeting, I moved to add an item to our next meeting agenda to consider repealing Board Governance Policy 3d(2)(c)—the district policy that prohibits board members from expressing “individual negative judgments” about the superintendent. For reasons I discuss more fully here, this policy is plainly an unconstitutional restriction on speech. Three board members (Chris Lynch, Brian Kirschling, and LaTasha DeLoach) of the six present were against even discussing the issue, so the motion to put it on the agenda failed.

The policy is an embarrassment to the district. It is also yet another legal compliance issue. It also serves to chill speech on legitimate subjects of public debate—the kind of speech that is a necessary ingredient of good decision-making. What is the objection to discussing its repeal?

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

What about the Save Hoover issue? Will it just close now? Will the Save Hoover people keep fighting to keep it open?
I really hope they do. I would hate to see it close.

Chris said...

Anonymous—The board majority did not support putting the Hoover issue on the ballot. As a result, the issue won’t appear on the ballot (unless someone chooses to pursue a court ruling on it). That’s not necessarily the end of Hoover, however, since the next board could still choose to revisit the decision.

Anonymous said...

So much for Board Directors oaths to uphold the Constitution and State & Federal laws.

Mary Richard said...

Because the state mandates school attendance, board members have a duty to represent the public, whether or not their questions or comments are supportive or critical of the superintendent.

Mary Richard said...

https://cdn-files.nsba.org/s3fs-public/10-Schultz-Tilley-SBM-and-First-Amendment-Paper.pdf Strict scrutiny will be applied to governmental censure of or limits on an elected official’s speech, requiring the government to show that the law/rule at issue is necessary to achieve a compelling governmental interest, and that the law/rule is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest.

Mary Richard said...

Iowa Constitution Section 7. Liberty of speech and press.
Every person may speak, write, and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right. No law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech, or of the press. In all prosecutions or indictments for libel, the truth may be given in evidence to the jury, and if it appears to the jury that the matter charged as libelous was true, and was published with good motives and for justifiable ends, the party shall be acquitted.

Board procedures may violate the First Amendment if they chill board members’ speech. https://cdn-files.nsba.org/s3fs-public/10-Schultz-Tilley-SBM-and-First-Amendment-Paper.pdf

amy said...

Supposing someone did go up there and rail at, say, Steve, or Chris, and the Board did send a lawyer after them, and the person won that lawsuit. Can board members be held personally liable for spending tax money on frivolous lawsuits?

Anonymous said...

OMG, Chris - You are a rock star! I am watching the video of last nights school board meeting and I think you did fantastic. I am SO frustrated with the majority of this board. I cannot believe how they treated you during the Hoover discussion. Chris Lynch and Brian Kirshling can't leave soon enough for me.
Horrid!
Please God, please give us honest, decent board members the next go round, preferably ones who actually give a crap about the kids and not about their own personal agendas.

Anonymous said...

Chris - I agree that your work on this has been incredible. You are running circles around Holland. His responses have made him look incompetent. They think they are so smart but are really showing their ignorance and obstinance - which I am sure won't fare well for the bond vote. I hope you continue to fight for what is right and stand up to these bullies. Murley and company have brought disgrace to our district for years and will continue to do so. How this man still has a job is beyond me, he should have been fired long ago. We deserve better than this. Why does everything need to be so controversial and scandalous. Why do board members keep quitting (I think that I know the answer to this one). I hope some additional candidates step up since there are so many seats to fill. We need to start fresh with new administration and board members with integrity (not Lynch and Kirschling). The current administration is toxic and corrupt and will stop at nothing to push their agenda. I also hope that voters are paying attention to how administration is handling all of this and aren't bamboozled by their promises and tactics.

Anonymous said...

I just now watched the board video from last week too and I am shocked and appalled at Lynch and Kircshling's behavior. That just made my blood boil with anger. They were so rude and disrespectful and were obviously just bullies looking for a fight. I also agree that they looked very foolish and transparent. To be honest I was undecided about the bond issue so far but after seeing their behavior I now know my decision for certain. Chris Liebig - you are the man - just know that you and Phil have so much support from our community - I thank you!

Anonymous said...

Just my opinions here...Lynch is simply harsh and cruel and his one-sided agenda is very clear. He tries to rule like a dictator and silence any dissenting opinion. I am not sure how the man sleeps at night with the way he behaves. Kirschling is funny because everytime he speaks you can tell he thinks he is saying something very profound but it ends up being irrelevant or he just parrots something else that Lynch has just said. Kirchling doesn't appear to have any original thoughts and is simply a yes man to Lynch. Now Roessler I can tell can think for himself and has a conscience and appears to often have moral difficulty going along with Lynch and Kirschling. In the end though Roessler succumbs to the pressure of Lynch and can't stand up for what he may believe is the right thing to do.