No one should be “shut down” for speaking their mind at a school board meeting; WILL advises all school boards to protect the freedom of speech
The News: Today, in support of the First Amendment rights of citizens who speak up at school board meetings, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) rebuked the West Allis-West Milwaukee (WAWM) School Board for blatantly violating a citizen’s freedom of speech.
The Quote: WILL Deputy Counsel, Dan Lennington, stated, “The First Amendment guarantees the freedom of speech—period. WILL is speaking out and advising all school boards to embrace and protect the First Amendment, rather than shutting down speech it finds uncomfortable.”
Background: On March 27, 2023, Mr. Steve Broadwell—who is a retired resident of the district—spoke during a school board public forum to express concerns about a suggested LGBTQ curriculum. Shortly after Mr. Broadwell began, Board President Noah Leigh prevented Mr. Broadwell from speaking, and accused him of “hate speech.”
Our Letter: What occurred during that public meeting clearly violated the First Amendment rights of citizens. Unfortunately, this tactic of silencing parents and taxpayers at local meetings is not an isolated incident. In our letter, we urge the WAWM School Board, namely Board President Noah Leigh, to reconsider its policy of silencing community members who provide public comments at school board meetings the Board does not like. Mr. Broadwell deserves an apology from the Board.
- Letter, April 3, 2023
- Clip from WAWM School Board Public Forum, March 27, 2023