DEBATE: Was High School Math Teacher Carly McKinney Just Exercising First Amendment Rights When Posting Racy Pictures to Twitter?
A Colorado high school teacher is under investigation after reportedly posting some racy pictures of herself on her Twitter account. The 23-year-old math teacher also reportedly posted pictures of her potentially smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol. While Carly McKinney is currently on paid leave, many students are defending the teacher saying she was simply acting within her First Amendment rights.
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Radio talk show host Michael Graham disagreed, saying, “The issue is not the First Amendment. You are free to say what you want within obviously some parameters. There’s no such thing as consequence-free conversation.” Graham stressed that McKinney needs to make a choice. “She clearly cannot be a public school teacher and be a public advocate of drinking, smoking, and getting your party on." According to civil litigation attorney Anahita Sedaghatfar, the school is well within their rights to reprimand her or even terminate her employment. “Teachers do have a First Amendment right, but the courts have held that teachers' social media posts, if they cause a substantial disruption to the teaching environment, outweigh the First Amendment.” She summed up her argument, saying, “The bottom line is that teachers are, like it or not, role models and they should be held to a higher standard. If a teacher doesn’t have enough common sense not to put out tweets on a public Twitter page like this, then they should not be charged with teaching our students.”