On January 29, the Liberty Justice Center sent a demand letter on behalf of an Oregon mother who alleges that a local school district’s social media and public comment policies have violated her First Amendment rights.
Glenda Scherer, education advocate and mother of two, argues that the Gladstone School District has unconstitutionally suppressed her speech online and at public meetings. The District prohibited her from posting in a publicly-accessible Facebook group for parents at the school, unless and until administrators approve her post’s content. The District also required she submit her comments and questions to be pre-screened by the Board before open meetings, sought to ban her from attending any school board meetings in person without the Superintendent’s prior approval, and banned any discussion of current or former school employees—a ban that prevented her from sharing her concerns after the District failed to discipline an employee who had been investigated for abusing her son.
The Liberty Justice Center argues that the Gladstone School District’s social media and public comment policies unconstitutionally restrict speech protected by the First Amendment.
“The First Amendment protects Americans’ vital right to publicly voice their concerns, and prohibits government officials from censoring speech they disagree with,” said Educational Freedom Attorney Dean McGee. “The District cannot silence parents for its own convenience—public comment is essential to the betterment of public schools.”
In its letter, the Liberty Justice Center demands that the Gladstone School District bring its social media and public comment policies into compliance with the First Amendment by removing its restrictions on Glenda Scherer’s ability to speak freely about the District and its policies. The Liberty Justice Center intends to file suit on Glenda’s behalf if the District does not comply.
A copy of the letter filed by the Liberty Justice Center is available here.