Group suing Brevard County School Board over 'trying to stifle public speaking'

A group of parents in Brevard County is suing the school board over what it is calling a violation of freedom of speech. 

The group "Moms for Liberty" filed the lawsuit Friday.

"They are trying to stifle public speaking," Ashley Hall, chairwoman of the group, said. 

She said the Brevard County School Board has been silencing parents at school board meetings, and parents are now fighting for their First Amendment right.

The group filed the lawsuit Friday with attorneys from the Institute for Free Speech. It claims the board prevents people from speaking on certain topics at meetings, allows favorable comments about board members, but not criticisms, and has instilled fear that people speaking their minds could be fined or even arrested. 

"There’s just a very clear bias in that room," Hall said.

Attorney Lawrence Walters of Walters Law Group said the lawsuit is concerning.

"If the allegations in the lawsuit are true, and they seem to be fairly well documented with the videos, the Brevard County School Board has a very significant constitutional problem on its hands," Walters said.

The lawsuit is asking the federal courts to put a stop to the first amendment violations parents are claiming are happening at meetings.

"The lawsuit states that the school boards have forgotten about the strength of the First Amendment in this country and are imposing restrictions on speech that may be offensive or uncivil and that’s not the test," Walters said.

"This is for all parents. This isn’t for our side or the other side. It’s for all sides because freedom of speech doesn’t stop with one side," Hall said.

A spokesperson for Brevard County Schools said district leaders do not comment on pending litigation.

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