If you’re not familiar with Gag Orders, here’s how they work: Let’s assume a company wants to prevent its employees from sharing valuable company secrets with competitors. To do so, a Gag Order can be written into the contract of employment. As such, this clause would prevent an employee from sharing product development information and innovative discoveries with other companies that would benefit from such knowledge, but without the means involved to make such discoveries on their own. Gag Orders can also be used to silence people who want to speak the truth about real-life situations. When used in this manner they become a means of suppression and censorship.
It should come as no surprise that Gag Orders have worked their way into the world of International Teaching, something ISR finds completely contradictory to the spirit of education. A director recently wrote ISR to say “by contract his teachers agree to not speak negatively about their school during the term of their employment.” ISR was asked by this director to remove a Review suspected to have been written by a currently employed teacher. Of course we did not.
We note that many International School Mission Statements expound on the lofty ideal of creating “global citizens, future world leaders, active thinkers, achievers, doers, contributors,” et cetera. Interestingly, the very schools that proudly display these goals on the walls of their administrative offices will often squelch any such “thinking and doing” activity among the individuals hired and entrusted with the responsibility of creating these “future leaders.” ISR calls this hypocritical.
The reality may well be that some “International Schools” are solely businesses masquerading as educational institutions. Based on some of the Reviews posted about these “International Schools” on International Schools Review, it is understandable why some would want to include a Gag Order in their contracts. Fortunately, educators are willing to risk the consequences of breaking such an Order and will post to ISR in an effort to warn colleagues about what lies hidden behind a contractual clause designed to mislead well-meaning educators.
Have you ever been confronted with a Gag Order? Would you accept a teaching position at a school that included a Gag Order in their contract? What is your take on on this topic?
Please scroll down to comment