February 22, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

“Mama Bears” mom wins free speech lawsuit against school board that banned her

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A Fulton County, Georgia,  member of the “Mama Bears” who was banned from her school board meetings for reading from a pornographic novel available in her son’s middle school library has won her lawsuit against the district.  She was awarded legal fees of more than $100,000 in a settlement of her First Amendment lawsuit against the district.

Alison Hair, one of a group dubbed the “Mama Bears,” sued the Fulton County School District after she was banned from future school board meetings after refusing demands from the board to stop reading from the book Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close during the public comment section of the meeting. The book is about the adventures of a boy who lost his father in the World Trade Center bombing,

Hair and fellow Momma Bear Cindy Martin, another parent censored, were represented in their federal suit by the Institute for Free Speech.

In addition to the award of legal fees, the court issued an injunction against the district, permanently prohibiting it from enforcing its public participation policy to deny speakers from “reading or quoting verbatim from the text of any book or written works available in any FCS (Fulton County Schools) library or classroom” during the public comment period of the meetings.

Additionally, the district is forbidden “from enforcing its ‘respectfulness requirement, the restriction on personally addressing board members, including the superintendent, or any restriction on profane, uncivil, or abusive remarks” in a future public participation policy.

Kirsten Workman, the Lansing mom who successfully challenged curriculum content in her district last year, says she can relate to what the “Mama Bears” were up against, although she was not banned from board meetings:

“Sadly, preventing the sexualization of children is currently an uphill battle in our nation’s public schools, and it will take an army of mothers to turn the tide. We will deliver; because our children deserve to see us fight for their protection.  We need every single one of us to stand up like these moms did, say ‘no,’ and then just hold the line.  We need to set our faces like flint, brave the onslaught of verbal abuse and intimidation and persevere, knowing that we are standing on truth and virtue.

“One way or another, we will win.  And in the end, it will be worth it.  Every single moment.”

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