Federal Judge Roy B. Dalton ruled that Brevard Public Schools’ public participation policy did not violate free speech rights.
In a lawsuit filed November 5, 2021, M4L details how they claim the Brevard County School Board repeatedly violated their right to speak at public meetings. They say M4L members have been prevented from addressing specific actions or statements by Board members, prohibited from using specific words and phrases that members of the Board dislike, prevented from participating in meetings on the same terms as the Board’s allies, and threatened by Board officials with fines and penalties for speaking.
“Banning parents from addressing school board members violates the most basic of First Amendment principles: that government cannot censor speech because it criticizes government officials,” said Institute for Free Speech Attorney Ryan Morrison. “The views and actions of board members are plainly relevant to board meetings and must be open for public discussion.”
“(Moms for Liberty) argue that the Chair’s custom of reading a criminal statute that penalizes disruptions before Board meetings and that her use of the Policy to interrupt and eject speakers chills their speech. But M4L members, including Hall, Delaney, and Cholewa, have regularly continued to speak at meetings — demonstrating that actual enforcement of the Policy has not chilled the exercise of their right to speak,” Dalton wrote.
“The record demonstrates that the Chair’s interruptions of Plaintiffs, and others, for personally directed comments were regularly brief and respectful, and Plaintiffs freely finished speaking,” he wrote. “So Plaintiffs have not experienced the objective chill necessary to establish standing, entitling Defendants to summary judgment.”
Representative Randy Fine also filed a criminal complaint against the School Board which was also shot down by the State.