FAIR works to advance civil rights and liberties for all. We are supporting a new lawsuit against Jefferson City Public Schools in Missouri, alleging First Amendment free speech violations.
In late 2020, Curt Thompson became concerned about the curriculum in his grandchildren’s school district. He believed it was promoting race-essentialist teachings, including encouraging students to group themselves based on skin color and other immutable traits. He became an active educational advocate by filing requests under Missouri’s public records law and attending board meetings, where he often spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting.
In August 2021, the superintendent and board president had an email exchange to address Mr. Thompson’s “effort to speak” at the next board meeting. They agreed to re-order items on the agenda to prevent him from speaking, and arranged for two security officers to be on-hand and ready.
They succeeded in silencing Mr. Thompson. During the next board meeting, Mr. Thompson began offering his comments in a civil manner and within seconds, the board president abruptly called a recess and ordered a security officer to remove Mr. Thompson from the building—which the officer did.
Mr. Thompson has now filed a First Amendment lawsuit, which FAIR supports. The state may not silence an individual because it does not like the content of his speech.
Mr. Thompson is represented by FAIR network attorney Daniel Rhoads of the Rhoads Law Firm in St. Louis
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