The Liberty Justice Center Files Lawsuit Against Oregon School District, Challenging Policies that Violate the First Amendment

February 26, 2024

On February 26, the Liberty Justice Center filed a lawsuit against an Oregon school district, challenging social media and public comment policies that are violating a local mother’s First Amendment rights.

Glenda Scherer, education advocate and mother of two, argues that the Gladstone School District violated her First Amendment rights by unconstitutionally suppressing her speech online and at public meetings. The District prohibited her from posting in a publicly-accessible Facebook group for parents at the school, required she submit all comments and questions to be pre-screened before open meetings, banned any discussion of current or former school employees, and sought to ban her from attending public school board meetings.

On January 29, the Liberty Justice Center issued a demand letter on Glenda’s behalf, arguing that the Gladstone School District’s social media and public comment policies unconstitutionally restrict speech protected by the First Amendment. The letter demanded that the 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.

In response to the Liberty Justice Center’s letter, Gladstone School District agreed to repeal its requirement that speakers submit their comments for prior screening and withdrew its decision to ban Glenda from attending the District’s public meetings.

These partial concessions are not enough. The District did not lift its limitations on her speech online, nor did it roll back its ban on discussing current or former school employees—a ban that prevented Glenda from sharing her concerns after the District failed to discipline an employee who had been investigated for abusing her son.

As a result, the Liberty Justice Center is moving forward with a lawsuit to uphold Glenda’s First Amendment rights.

“I want my voice to be heard not just to advocate for my own children, but to advocate for all the unheard parents across the country who are being unconstitutionally silenced by school boards,” said plaintiff Glenda Scherer.

“The First Amendment prohibits officials at any level of government from censoring the free speech of those they disagree with,” said Educational Freedom Attorney Dean McGee. “By fighting for Glenda, we are proud to also fight for the constitutional rights of parents and educational advocates across the country.”

Scherer v. Gladstone School District was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon on February 26, 2024.

Salem, Oregon-based attorney Luke Miller served as local counsel for the submission to the Court.

The Liberty Justice Center’s case filings are available here. A copy of the initial letter filed on Glenda’s behalf is available here.


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