JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Judge Jess Dickinson recently ruled that several Jackson Public School District (JPS) staff policies were unconstitutional. Dickinson ordered permanent injunctions to stop JPS from enforcing parts of a policy.

“What made them unconstitutional is that they stiffen what employees could actually do anywhere else,” said Dr. Akemi Stout, president of the Jackson Federation of Teachers.

The policy prevented JPS employees from interacting with the media, law enforcement or anyone else about issues concerning the district.

“There is a provision in our constitution that says the right to freedom of speech shall be held sacred, and that’s what this was about,” said Attorney Joel Dillard.

According to representatives with the Jackson Federation of Teachers, several documents were provided to JPS with the request of making the necessary changes to the policy before they filed a complaint.

“The received it. They said they were going to review it, and no one got back to us,” said Stout.

In Dickinson’s ruling, he called the district’s confidential information policy ‘vague, overboard and unconstitutional.’

JPS released a statement after the judge’s decision.

Jackson Public Schools has a duty to balance the competing interests of several constituency groups, including its scholars and employees. The District is currently reviewing the court’s order and its options regarding the same. This is a matter of ongoing litigation, and the District will not comment any further. 

Jackson Public School District

“The judge’s order strikes the perfect balance. It allows them to comply with the laws that they need to the laws that already balance the entrance of students and teachers, but it requires them to stop lying to their employees and telling them they cannot speak to the press because that’s simply not true, and everyone knows it,” said Dillard.

Dickinson also wrote the court still has concerns that JPS may reinstate the challenged policies. In the ruling, he required the district to give notice of the change to all employees within 14 days.