An Oregon school district is facing allegations of violating a parent’s First Amendment right to free speech during public comment at board meetings and on social media posts.

The Liberty Justice Center, a Chicago-based legal services organization, recently sent a demand letter to officials at the Gladstone School District in Gladstone, Ore., seeking reversal of five policies on behalf of client Glenda Scherer.

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Scherer, a mother of two children, reached out to the Liberty Justice Center, seeking resolution to a range of allegations around the suppression of her views on the district’s Facebook page and in-person at board meetings.

“The First Amendment protects Americans’ vital right to publicly voice their concerns, and prohibits government officials from censoring speech they disagree with, Dean McGee, educational freedom attorney with the Liberty Justice Center, said in a statement.

“The district cannot silence parents for its own convenience — public comment is essential to the betterment of public schools,” McGee added.

Since 2020, Scherer has raised a number of concerns with Gladstone School District administrators and board members, including the alteration of minutes from a board meeting last fall.

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Previously, Scherer alleges she was restricted from commenting in a district-sanctioned Facebook group in fall 2020 about limited in-person instruction at the height of the pandemic.

Scherer also has alleged Gladstone officials on multiple occasions have put up guardrails around her ability to provide public comment at the board meetings — most recently in an incident last month when she wanted to address her elected representatives about her concerns about an employee.

According to the Liberty Justice Center demand letter, Gladstone Superintendent Bob Stewart reportedly banned Scherer recently from attending board meetings and workshops on district property unless she obtained prior approval.

“This alarming restriction on Glenda’s First Amendment right to free speech and assembly is unconstitutional prior restraint,” McGee wrote in the demand letter. “Prior restraint exists when free speech is conditioned upon the approval of public officials.”

McGee laid out five provisions in the demand letter to Gladstone officials to bring “policies and practices in compliance with the First Amendment.”

The demands include ceasing Scherrer’s restrictions on social media accounts and revoking policies that restrict the public from commenting on staff members.

Additionally, Liberty Justice Center is seeking cessation of an existing Gladstone board policy that requires full submittal of comments before residents can speak to the board at meetings.

The organization also is seeking withdrawal of the specific policy against Scherer stipulating she only can attend the meetings and workshops with prior approval from the superintendent’s office and is fighting on her behalf to speak freely on matters concerning the district.

If the district does not respond to Liberty Justice Center’s demand letter and change course on the five items outlined, McGee in the letter indicated the organization will “promptly file suit in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon, seeking an injunction.”

Gladstone officials have not commented publicly on the demand letter or the actions taken against Scherer. District representatives did not respond to a request for comment.