Colorado Springs’ federal judge to mediate Woodland Park schools free speech suit

Colorado Politics: Lawyers for the Woodland Park School District and the local teachers’ union agreed on Wednesday to mediate their dispute over a policy that allegedly infringes on employees’ constitutional right to free speech.

Last month, the Woodland Park Education Association and its president, Nathaniel Owen, filed suit against the district, seeking to strike down a prohibition on employees speaking to the press or posting on social media about school matters without the superintendent’s prior approval. The district warned that neutering the policy would embolden “dissident” teachers in a school board election year.

At a Sept. 13 conference, U.S. District Court Judge Gordon P. Gallagher cautioned that portions of the policy, in his view, “do have problems.”

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