A string of recent rulings make school boards safer places for dissenting views

Schools come by their hostility to freedom of speech honestly; they get it from their school boards, which are habitually hostile to dissenters.

Many school districts forbid speakers from criticizing school employees during the public-comment portion of board meetings. Some go even further and prohibit mentioning any proper names.

That’s changing, because of a growing legal consensus that it’s unconstitutional to restrict the content of citizens’ remarks during government meetings.




On April 4, a federal district judge struck down a North Georgia county’s onerous application process that required citizens wishing to address the school board to endure a weeks-long approval process designed to prevent controversies from being aired in public.

In its waning hours on XX, the Georgia General Assembly approved legislation outlawing so-called “One Board” policies that restrict individual school board members from expressing disagreement with positions taken by the board.

That these reforms were necessary speaks to the image obsession of local school districts — not just Georgia, but nationally. Promoting the false impression of harmony has become the paramount concern that supersedes everything else, including public accountability.