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Court upholds sanctions against teacher protests

Albany, N.Y. (AP) -- New York state's top court has upheld a Long Island school district's sanctions against picketing teachers, concluding their parked cars created a potential risk to student safety that trumps their right to free speech.

The Court of Appeals case stemmed from March 2007 union demonstrations at Woodland Middle School in the East Meadow Union Free School District.

On a rainy day, several teachers parked legally on a street by the school, displaying picket signs in windows. Their vehicles kept some students from getting dropped off at curbside.

The district filed disciplinary charges, alleging picketers intentionally created a safety risk.

Two teachers, who were fined $500 and $1,000, respectively, by an arbitrator, went to court, arguing they had a constitutional right to picket peacefully in a public area before school.

 
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