Friday, July 31, 2020

City agrees school board members can criticize ex-Nashville schools director Shawn Joseph

The Tennessean, 7/31/2020 - Three school board members suing the city and Shawn Joseph are free to "say what they wish" about the former Metro Schools director, lawyers for the city and Joseph argue in a new motion seeking to dismiss the lawsuit against them. 

 As a result, a court hearing Friday could bring the lawsuit to an end. 

 Attorneys for Joseph and the city are seeking to dismiss a lawsuit filed by board members Amy Frogge, Jill Speering and Fran Bush earlier this year over a contract buyout clause they say violates their First Amendment rights. 

 At issue is a section in Joseph's April 2019 severance package that prohibits Joseph, the school board and individual members of the school board from making any "disparaging or defamatory comments" about one another. (Read more)

Rod's Comment:  I am not a fan of  Amy Frogge or Jill Speering, primarily because of their strident opposition to school choice, however, I am pleased to see them stand up for free speech rights. After Shawn Joseph's disastrous stint as Director of Schools, instead of firing him for incompetence and corruption, the Board paid him to go away.  His separation agreement included a $261,250 payout and a non-disparagement clause that said the Board nor members of the School Board would say any bad things about him.  That means some other school district will hire him and the Nashville School Board nor Board members cannot warn the other district that they are about to make a mistake.  I am pleased this was resolved in favor of free speech. 

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