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Teacher’s Critical Letters Found To Be Free Speech, Not Harassment

By The Associated Press — March 20, 2019 1 min read

An Iowa magistrate says critical letters a Sioux City teacher sent to her superintendent and others are free speech, not harassment.

Woodbury County Magistrate Jessica Noll dismissed the six counts of misdemeanor harassment filed against West Middle School teacher Julie Fischer. Fischer had been placed on paid leave last summer after she was charged.

Noll said in her ruling last week that those who received Fischer’s letters “may have interpreted the messages as offensive and insulting. However, criticizing colleagues is a legitimate purpose.” The letters to Superintendent Paul Gausman and other administrators and teachers were critical of their competency and actions.

A district spokeswoman says the district hasn’t made a final decision on Fischer’s employment.

A version of this article appeared in the March 20, 2019 edition of Education Week as Teacher’s Critical Letters Found to Be Free Speech, Not Harassment