Perry Education Assn. v. Perry Local Educators’ Assn.

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Perry Education Assn. v. Perry Local Educators’ Assn.
Court Supreme Court of the United States
Date decided February 23, 1983
Appealed from 7th Circuit


Before 1977, 2 different unions named the Perry Education Association (PEA) and the Perry Local Educators' Association (PLEA) represented teachers in Perry Township, Marion County, Indiana.

At the time, both PEA & PLEA were allowed to communicate to teachers through the interschool mail system.

In 1977, PEA became the only bargaining party on behalf of all teachers' in the aforesaid Indiana school district. Next, PEA gained exclusive access to the interschool mail system.

Procedural History

PLEA sued PEA in federal district court in Indiana. PEA wins summary judgment.

PEA loses in the 7th Circuit.


Can the government constitutionally regulate speech on government property (non-public forum)?

Does the type of government property matter when the government restricts speech under the 1st Amendment?


PLEA argued that PEA's exclusive access to the interschool mail system violates the 1st Amendment right of PLEA.


The interschool mail system is a non-public forum. Regulation thereof must be (1) reasonable & (2) viewpoint-neutral.

As the exclusive bargaining representative of teachers after 1977, PEA had the right to effectively communicate with all teachers in the district. PEA could receive preferential access to communicate with the teachers as the exclusive bargaining representative.


PLEA and all competing union were excluded from the interschool mail system because of their status as non-representatives of teachers.

PLEA wasn't discriminated against based on its viewpoint. PLEA could be excluded from the interschool mail system because it was no longer representing teachers in the area.


Discriminating based on a speaker's viewpoint isn't allowed. Regulation of speech in a non-public forum needs to be view-point neutral.