A Georgia school district agreed to pay $100,000 in legal fees after it barred a group of moms from reading sexually explicit material found in their children’s school library books aloud at school board meetings, Fox News Digital reported.
A group of mothers called the Mama Bears filed a lawsuit against Forsyth County School District, accusing district officials of violating the parents’ First Amendment rights. One of the group’s members, who was attempting to sound the alarm on inappropriate books in her child’s school library, was banned from reading the pornographic excerpts at school board meetings.
Last February, Alison Hair, a Mama Bears member, read pages from the book “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” by Jonathan Safran Foer to the school board. The novel, Hair explained, was available at her son’s middle school library.
Hair was interrupted by a school board member when she started to read, “I know that you give someone a blow job by putting your penis …”
The following month, Hair again attempted to read the book aloud at a school board meeting.
The board members responded by sending Hair a letter informing her that she was banned from attending future meetings until she complied with the board’s policies. In the letter, the school board accused Hair of violating its public participation policy.
The Mama Bears filed a lawsuit against the district in July 2022.
“People cannot fairly pass judgment on books that they haven’t read,” the mothers’ suit stated. “And when a school’s judgment as to which books young children should read is the subject of political debate, the First Amendment protects parents’ right to read aloud from these books, as well as the public’s right to hear the language at issue. But the Forsyth County School Board, embarrassed by debate about its choices, has gone so far as to silence and banish from its meetings any parent who simply reads aloud from its schools’ library books.”
In November, a federal judge determined that the FCS school board’s public participation policy was unconstitutional, according to the Institute for Free Speech, which represented the mothers in the case. The judge also forced the board to allow Hair to attend school board meetings.
The Mama Bears won the legal battle, and the school district agreed to pay the mothers’ attorney’s fees for censoring the women.
“Fee shifting is an important feature of our civil rights laws; and successful plaintiffs who are able to show that government officials censored them are entitled to having their attorneys’ fees paid by the wrongdoers, just like for any other form of illegal discrimination. We hope that school-board members and their lawyers take note,” Institute for Free Speech senior attorney Del Kolde told Fox News Digital.
The court also ruled that the board cannot prevent “current or future FCS speakers entitled to speak at an FCS school board meeting, from reading or quoting verbatim from the text of any book or written works available in an FCS library or classroom, while addressing the school board during the public-comment period at school board meetings.”
“Our Board voted on the settlement agreement earlier this month,” FCS told Fox News Digital. “The payment for legal fees was handled by our insurance company.”
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