"THE ISSUE: Several local public officials have drawn controversy over social media posts.
THE IMPACT: When considering disciplining employees over inflammatory statements, public entities must consider many factors to avoid violating the First Amendment.
Across Massachusetts, a series of recent posts that public officials and employees have made on social media about NFL players’ protests and President Donald Trump have sparked outrage and raised questions over the First Amendment.
“If the government wants to try to restrict speech, it’s got to have a pretty compelling reason to do it,” said Dwight Duncan, a UMass School of Law professor who teaches courses on constitutional law and the First Amendment."
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Editors note: Protests have a place in America. They are part of how we started. Recall the Boston Tea Party and other events that lead to the American Revolution. There have been other protests to advance causes from the women's right to vote to ending segregation in the South. One of the more notable sports protests was that of Tommie Smith and John Carlos with the raised black fists at the 1968 Olympics.