A Georgia school district that banned a mother for reading pornographic material from a book available in her son’s middle school library was ordered to pay legal fees greater than $100,000.
Alison Hair was interrupted by a Forsyth County Schools trustee while reading more text from the book “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” Hair was later notified she was banned from future boad meetings until she became compliant with district policies.
A Georgia federal court sided with Hair in the lawsuit filed on her behalf, awarding her a nominal amount, but her legal representation was awarded more than $100K.
Fox News further reported:
A school district was forced to pay over $100,000 in legal fees after banning moms from exposing pornographic material at school board meetings.
Forsyth County School District [FSC] agreed to pay attorney’s fees in a federal lawsuit brought by a group of parents who were censored at school board meetings.
The group, called the Mama Bears, claimed in the federal lawsuit that their First Amendment rights were violated and won the case due to the legal representation of the Institute for Free Speech
The Mama Bears settled a federal lawsuit against the Georgia school district after one of the group’s members was barred from reading sexually explicit excerpts at school board meetings.
FCS will pay the Mama Bears nominal damages of $17.91 and their attorneys $107,500.
“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 enjoined the district and all affiliated parties from prohibiting the plaintiffs or any “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.”
A year ago in February, Mama Bears member Alison Hair read pages from a book that was available at her son’s middle school library.
The book, she read at the school board meeting, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” reads “I know that you give someone a blow job by putting your penis …”
Hair was interrupted by one of the board members from reading more text from the book. “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” authored by Jonathan Safran Foer and published in 2005, is about a 9-year-old boy whose father was killed in the 9/11 attacks.
Hair demanded to use her allotted time to speak during the public comment period since she was cut off by the board member.
Hair attempted reading from the book a second time at a school board meeting the next month.
Her actions prompted the board to send her a letter, banning her from school board meetings until she complied with school board policies. The district claimed that Hair’s actions had violated their public participation policy at school board meetings.
The lawsuit was filed in July 2022 by the Institute for Free Speech on behalf of Hair, the Mama Bears of Forsyth County, and the Mama Bears chair.
According to the Institute For Free Speech, a federal judge in November ruled FCS Board’s public participation policy unconstitutional and barred them from enforcing it. The judge also ordered the district to end its ban on Hair from speaking at board meetings.
“Our Board voted on the settlement agreement earlier this month,” FCS said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “The payment for legal fees was handled by our insurance company.”
The FCS Board voted on a new public participation policy that was approved on Monday removing the language that speakers must conduct themselves respectfully. They also eliminated a rule that speakers do not address board members individually or be boisterous.
The lawsuit underscores the phenomenon of parents across the country paying closer attention to school boards by challenging progressive curricula and contesting books they deem inappropriate.
The issue of education has become a top concern among voters, resulting in organizations like the Oregon Moms Union. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, school board meetings have oftentimes become battlegrounds between parents and school board officials, reigniting the debate on how much control parents have over their children’s education.
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