Indiana Law Journal

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2017

Publication Citation

92 Indiana Law Journal 1615 (2017)


This Note argues that courts should narrow the scope of examined speech and place little weight on the amount of media attention that the speech received. Although courts sometimes reject First Amendment protection on the Pickering balancing test instead of the public concern issue, the public concern requirement is a threshold issue that plays a critical role in successful First Amendment claims. Accordingly, courts need to revisit the public concern doctrine to ensure that its analysis is sound and yields the correct outcome.

Part I provides background concerning retaliation claims, criticism of the public concern requirement, and special issues that teachers face in the social media world. Part II identifies current issues with how courts apply the public concern doctrine. Finally, Part III suggests the best way to apply the public concern doctrine to address problems unique to social media speech