Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Student Statement Opposing Reproductive Rights Issue Must Be Read During School Announcements

 In Nielson v. Ann Arbor Public Schools, (ED MI, Nov. 4, 2022), a Michigan federal district court issued a temporary restraining order requiring a public high school to read an announcement from the school's Republican Club in opposition to the Reproductive Rights constitutional amendment on the Nov. 8 ballot.  The school contended that reading it would violate the Michigan Campaign Finance Act which bars the school from advocating for ballot issues.  However, the school was permitting students who favor the ballot proposal to take part in a walkout sponsored by the National Organization for Women.  The court said in part:

Plaintiffs have shown a likelihood of success on the merits of their First Amendment claim....

The Court finds that Defendants seek to silence Plaintiffs’ appropriate speech as to Proposal 3 by refusing to broadcast it with their morning announcements, while permitting students in favor of Proposal 3 to cut classes, and to demonstrate on school property in favor of Proposal 3.

Thomas More Law Center issued a press release announcing the decision (with links to pleadings in the case as well).