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The Anti-Free Speech “Safe Space” Movement Violates the Code of Ethics of the National Education Association

The Code of Ethics of the National Education Association is copied below in full.  Bold emphasis is added to highlight relevant passages.  From this it is clear that the anti-free speech “Safe Space”  movement violates that code in multiple ways.  For example, “democratic principles” obviously include freedom of speech. 

National Education Association

Code of Ethics


The National Education Association believes that the education profession consists of one education workforce serving the needs of all students and that the term ‘educator’ includes education support professionals.

The educator, believing in the worth and dignity of each human being, recognizes the supreme importance of the pursuit of truth,devotion to excellence, and the nurture of the democratic principles. Essential to these goals is the protection of freedom to learn and to teach and the guarantee of equal educational opportunity for all. The educator accepts the responsibility to adhere to the highest ethical standards.

The educator recognizes the magnitude of the responsibility inherent in the teaching process. The desire for the respect and confidence of one’s colleagues, of students, of parents, and of the members of the community provides the incentive to attain and maintain the highest possible degree of ethical conduct. The Code of Ethics of the Education Profession indicates the aspiration of all educators and provides standards by which to judge conduct.

The remedies specified by the NEA and/or its affiliates for the violation of any provision of this Code shall be exclusive and no such provision shall be enforceable in any form other than the one specifically designated by the NEA or its affiliates.

Principle I

Commitment To The Student

The educator strives to help each student realize his or her potential as a worthy and effective member of society. The educator therefore works to stimulate the spirit of inquiry, the acquisition of knowledge and understanding, and the thoughtful formulation of worthy goals.

In fulfillment of the obligation to the student, the educator–

1. Shall not unreasonably restrain the student from independent action in the pursuit of learning.

2. Shall not unreasonably deny the student’s access to varying points of view.

3. Shall not deliberately suppress or distort subject matter relevant to the student’s progress.

4. Shall make reasonable effort to protect the student from conditions harmful to learning or to health and safety.

5. Shall not intentionally expose the student to embarrassment or disparagement.

6. Shall not on the basis of race, color, creed, sex, national origin, marital status, political or religious beliefs, family, social or cultural background, or sexual orientation, unfairly–

a. Exclude any student from participation in any program

b. Deny benefits to any student

c. Grant any advantage to any student

7. Shall not use professional relationships with students for private advantage.

8. Shall not disclose information about students obtained in the course of professional service unless disclosure serves a compelling professional purpose or is required by law.

Given this code of ethics, I pose the following questions:

To the extent that any professional educator or any institution of education knowingly allows or propagates “entrenched yet questionable orthodoxies” like the following from Heterodox Academy’s “The Problem” web page to be presented as truth:

  • Humans are a blank slate, and “human nature” does not exist.
  • All differences between human groups are caused by differential treatment of those groups, or by differential media portrayals of group members.
  • Social stereotypes do not correspond to any real differences.

isn’t that professional or institution in violation of “the supreme importance of the pursuit of truth” and therefore of the NEA Code of Ethics?  Isn’t that professional or institution, by definition, unethical?

Isn’t any educational institution, including the NEA, that chooses or prefers or allows the Telos of Social Justice, or the Telos of any Ideology, to hold sway over the Telos of Truth, according to the NEA code of ethics, unethical?



  1. Pingback: The Blame for the Current State of Partisan Rancor Rests in Academia | The Independent Whig - April 17, 2017

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