Jordan Zaia


The First Amendment is implicated by students and teachers every day in public schools. For years, courts followed the test established in Pickering v. Board of Education to analyze free speech claims for public school teachers. However, teachers’ protections were changed in 2006 when the U.S. Supreme Court decided Garcetti v. Ceballos. Since then, the circuits have inconsistently applied this test in cases relating to education. With the circuit split and high-profile cases rising in the federal circuits, the Supreme Court may have an opportunity to resolve the issue.

This Note advocates for the Supreme Court to rule that Garcetti does not apply to public school teachers. The Court should treat education differently than other occupations because teachers hold a special role in the development of students around the country, education is the cornerstone of a functioning society, and the education system allows students to develop their own thoughts within the “marketplace of ideas.” This Note highlights how the Court should adopt the Pickering-Connick test to account for all these interests and adequately protect academic freedom.