LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Clark County School District posted a controversial proposal about redefining employee free speech online before the holiday weekend. It was removed Monday evening.
“We all should be standing up,” said Vicki Kreidel, CCSD teacher and president of the National Education Association of Southern Nevada.
The proposal caused uncertainty and unease.
“This is like the worst possible time for them to roll out something like this,” Kreidel expressed.
CCSD staff and parents questioned the intention of the policy proposal that was removed suddenly from the district’s website tonight.
A two-page document online titled “Employee Freedom of Speech” seemed to impose restrictions on when employees can talk freely about public concerns, which includes district issues.
“You’re wondering what was the origin of proposing a regulation like this,” said Tam Larnerd, principal of Spring Valley High School.
“We believe this is someone in the district’s attempt to keep employees from speaking up about important issues,” said Kreidel, “and we think that’s a mistake.”
It also troubled free speech attorney Ari Cohn.
“It’s a policy that you can barely read four sentences without hitting something that it gets wrong,” he explained.
Cohn found the document and posted a Twitter thread, calling it really bad policy drafting.
“I think the thing that struck me is that it seemed to quote language that sounded familiar from the Supreme Court cases,” he said. “But the way it did it made you really wonder if the people actually read the cases.”
The Education Support Employees Association released a statement, which reads:
At a time when staff are demanding that elected officials listen to Educators about how to safely re-open our schools and why they should not lay off 1500 ESPs, the response from CCSD is to push a policy that silences us so they do not have to listen. The District should remember that an ESP’s working environment is a student’s learning environment.
ESEA and Teamsters 14 will continue to advocate for our members. The Trustees should withdraw this embarrassing and unconstitutional proposal or they will waste District dollars having a court do it for them.”Jan Giles, president of the Education Support Employees Association
The Clark County Education Association tells 8 News Now the union does not have a comment at this moment.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) continues to analyze the document and is waiting to hear back from the speech experts at the national office.