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Court Overrules School District That Banned Father Who Exposed Obscene Library Books

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• July 22, 2022 12:18 pm

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A federal judge on Wednesday overruled a Maine school district that banned a parent from school property after he exposed library books promoting transgenderism and pornography.

The U.S. District Court for Maine issued a temporary restraining order allowing Shawn McBreairty back on school property after the father filed a lawsuit claiming the ban violated his constitutional rights. The court ruled that the First Amendment protects McBreairty's comments at board meetings, where he has spoken out against sexualized school library books. The court also determined that the school board selectively applied its speech policy, which prohibits "vulgarity," against McBreairty.

"Here, it is hard to shake the sense that the School Board is restricting the speech because the Board disagrees with both Mr. McBreairty’s opinions and the unpleasantness that accompanies them," wrote District Judge Nancy Torresen. 

The school district's criminal trespass notice against McBreairty is just the latest example of a school board attempting to silence parents who speak out against controversial sex and gender curricula. The National School Boards Association, which represents more than 90,000 school board members, called on the FBI last year to investigate parents who spoke out against sexualized lesson plans as potential domestic terrorists. In April, a board chair barred a Georgia mother from school board meetings after she protested sexually explicit books at her son's middle school. Virginia's Prince William County School Board issued a rule limiting public comment, which parents said was an attempt to stifle debate around controversial issues.

The Hampden, Maine, school district had barred McBreairty from all virtual and in-person school gatherings, the Free Beacon reported last week. The criminal trespass notice came after McBreairty spoke out at board meetings against school library books that focus on transgenderism, including The Other Boy, the story of a 12-year-old who tries to conceal that he is transgender when his family moves to a new town, and All Boys Aren't Blue, which has been removed from libraries in at least eight states for concerns about "sexually graphic material."

Marc Randazza, the First Amendment lawyer who represents McBreairty, said that while the Maine father can return to school board meetings, other parents could still run afoul of the school board's vague speech policies, which prohibit "vulgarity," "gossip," and "irrelevance." The judge ruled McBreairty's remarks were not obscenities, as they made a "political or philosophical" point, meaning the ban against him was "unreasonable." Randazza said a court should rule that the speech policy is unconstitutional.

"There's a policy against criticizing any school employees or officials," Randazza said. "Now you can go there and say nice things about him, but you can't criticize him. Tell me how in the heck that passes the First Amendment muster."

Randazza cited a similar case where residents sued the Pennsbury School District in Pennsylvania for violating their First Amendment rights and settled for $300,000. McBreairty said he hopes parents across the country will continue to speak out against sexualized curricula.

"I'm trying to be the tip of the sword for people in Maine because cancel culture is so venomous here," McBreairty told the Free Beacon. "It's time that students, parents, taxpayers, and teachers start to find their own voice."

The lawyer representing the school board, Allison Economy, did not respond to a request for comment. The school district, Regional School Unit 22, did not respond to a request for comment.