SOUTHLAKE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Southlake teachers asked to return to Carroll ISD next year will have to agree not to criticize the school district or its leadership to the media.
The district has received plenty of media attention this school year.
There were school board battles about critical race theory, the ongoing US department of education civil rights investigation, and a leaked recording of an administrator advising teachers with a book on the holocaust in their classroom to offer one with opposing views, as well.
When teachers recently received their contract renewals for the upcoming school year, they discovered one way the district is dealing with it all.
The new clause in their contracts requires they “not fire, criticize, or defame the district, its employees, or its officials to the media.
“A lot of them are really mad and extremely concerned about the language. You know, Southlake Carroll can’t seem to get out of the spotlight, but instead of doing better what they’re trying to do is stifle their employees,” he said. Steven Poole, Executive Director of the United Educators Association.
He said the association is exploring its options for protecting its members from what it views as a clear cut violation of the first amendment
“They are citizens, and they have every right to criticize school districts and school district officials as long as they are speaking out on a matter of public concern,” he said.
A spokesperson for the district confirmed it decided to add the clause to contracts for the upcoming school year but didn’t offer its rationale for doing so.
Poole said he’s heard from some teachers ready to resign.
“This may have just been the straw that broke the camel’s back,” said Poole. “For them to be painted as the bad guys as if they are the ones creating this controversy and writing to the media just infuriates a lot of them to where they don’t want to sign their contracts.”