Oct 6, 2020

Statement Regarding Stickel Investigation

PLSD Statement image

The Superintendent and Board of Education are aware of complaints regarding the social media speech of Fairfield Elementary Principal, Ruth Stickel. As a public school employee, Ms. Stickel has the First Amendment right, while acting as a private citizen, to speak on issues of public concern. Presidential politics, the COVID-19 response, and issues of social justice all fall within this purview.

However, we expect our employees to be professional when communicating on social media. If an employee’s speech disrupts the work of the District, interferes with the maintenance of discipline, or harms the goodwill and reputation of our District, we can and will take action to address the situation. As reflected in a document provided to the media, Ms. Stickel received a reprimand while administration continues to investigate her social media speech and its impact on our school community. Once our investigation is complete, and dependent upon the facts, further action may be considered.

In the interim, we will emphasize social media etiquette in the continuous training we provide to staff. Public discourse and debate is a foundation upon which our country was founded. However, such expressions by our school leaders must be professional, respectful and sensitive to the diverse community we serve. We will take appropriate, corrective measures to help ensure that our school leaders comport their social media presence to these expectations.

Please respect the process and understand that there will be no comment on the matter until the process is completed.