Each year, FIRE reviews thousands of potential cases involving individuals and groups whose rights are threatened. FIRE’s team of legal and advocacy experts have decades of experience protecting free speech both on and off college campuses. Learn more about FIRE’s civil liberties cases.
It is well settled that a public school cannot punish a teacher for speaking out as a private citizen on school issues. Yet a federal court in Oregon said the opposite and ruled that school officials were protected by qualified immunity for doing so.
High schools cannot punish a student for satirizing the principal on social media when the satire occurs off campus and does not cause substantial disruption at school. A principal’s pride is not an exception to the First Amendment.
The National Rifle Association sued the head of New York’s Department of Financial Services, alleging that she made a series of thinly veiled threats against regulated banks and insurance companies to pressure them to sever ties with the NRA because she opposed the NRA’s political advocacy. The NRA alleged that these pressure tactics amounted to coercive viewpoint discrimination under the First Amendment.
When a concerned parent met with his child’s school superintendent, he informed the administration that he would be filming the encounter and potentially sharing it with others. At the time, no one raised any concerns and the school officials allowed him to film—until that parent, plaintiff Inge Berge, posted the video online along with commentary criticizing the school. Suddenly, the school district threatened him with a lawsuit, wrongfully claiming that his recording violated the Massachusetts Wiretapping Statute.
Jerry Rogers sent emails criticizing the lead detective on a homicide case as “clueless” (among other things). The detective’s colleagues in the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office came to his defense — by violating the law.
The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office can’t take a joke. That became clear when one of its detectives, supported by a fully-armed SWAT team, arrested Waylon Bailey for domestic terrorism. His crime? A Facebook post comparing the March 2020 Covid lockdowns to a zombie apocalypse, complete with all-caps text, emojis, and the hashtag “#weneedyoubradpitt”.
If you are facing retaliation over protected speech, or if you are a college student or faculty member whose First Amendment rights may have been violated, reach out to FIRE to learn more about how we can protect your rights.