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PFT Goes to Court for First Amendment Rights
PFT asks court for an injunction to stop the School District from intimidating PFT members who speak out.

 The PFT went to federal court in Philadelphia today seeking an injunction on behalf of all PFT members to protect their right of free speech after the district tried to silence a teacher who criticized their plans to turn her school into a charter school.

This afternoon, the School District agreed to take no further action with respect to any future disciplinary proceedings in Hope Moffett’s case until a preliminary injunction hearing is scheduled and completed.

This has the same impact as a temporary restraining order, in that the district’s efforts to terminate Hope Moffett’s employment will not proceed, pending the outcome of a hearing on our motion for a permanent injunction.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of all PFT members to protect their right to speak freely without fear of retaliation or intimidation by the district.

Moffett has been outspoken about the conversion of Audenried to a charter school. The district ordered her to report to the Academic Division Office on Feb. 17 without explanation and issued a gag order to keep her from speaking to anyone about her case on threat of disciplinary action.

Another teacher, removed from the school at the same time, but who chose not to discuss the case publicly, has already be restored to her position at Audenried.

At a Membership Meeting in February, even before Ms. Moffett was removed from the classroom, PFT members made it clear that they feared retribution by the administration if they ventured to speak out publicly against the administration’s plans to convert their schools to charter schools under private management or reconstitute the staff at under-performing schools.

I urge every PFT member to turn out on Monday for a rally to Stand Up for Students/Fight for Public Schools on Monday, March 14, at 4 p.m., at 440 N. Broad Street, where we can all speak out with one voice against harassment, bullying and intimidation.

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 3, AFL-CIO. All rights reserved. Photographs and illustrations, as well as text, cannot be used without permission from the PFT.