The right to criticize public officials and government employees lies at the heart of the First Amendment. Yet, for Hampden parent Shawn McBreairty, such criticism prompted the local school board to silence him.
That’s why the Institute for Free Speech filed an amicus brief urging the First Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a federal district court ruling and declare unconstitutional the Regional School Unit 22 (RSU 22) policy prohibiting speakers at board meetings from criticizing school personnel.
In the brief, the Institute argues that the RSU 22 policy violates the First Amendment by discriminating against particular viewpoints and unreasonably restricting public debate. The Institute filed the brief in support of McBreairty, a parent who was removed from an RSU 22 board meeting after attempting to criticize school officials by name.