Judge finds First Amendment applies to Seattle Public Schools

Case #13-2-42159-3 SEA, King County Superior Court
Judge Kimberley Prochnau

For more information, contact Arrestee/press contact Leith Jasinowski-Kahl at (206) 940-3807.
Or contact Attorney Larry Hildes at (360) 599-4339.

Three of 4 Africatown supporters arrested at the Horace Mann School last November won today (July 25, 2014) an appeal of a banning order from the Seattle Public Schools that had barred them from all School District property and School District meetings for one year.

Judge Kimberley Prochnau ruled today that SPS needed to follow the First Amendment and restore the arrestees’ Constitutional rights.

Speaking to the SPS attorney Ronald Boy, the Judge said there is “a paucity of law supporting the School District because they know there is no law that supports their position.”

Calling the arrestees “holdover tenants,” the Judge reprimanded the school district for confusing its role as a landlord at a particular building with its overarching role as a public agency focused on education that is subject to the First Amendment and the Public Meetings Act.

Judge Prochnau also questioned te legality of the review hearing required by the school district where Safety Director Larry Dorsey presided over the initial appeal of his own decision.

Omari Tahir-Garrett said, “We have put a hole in the school-to-prison pipeline by defeating School District Attorney Ron English’s attempt to silence us.”

Larry Hildes, attorney for the arrestees, said, ” We are extremely gratified that our clients’ right to speak their conscience has been restored and the the Court reminded the School District that they are subject to public speech, assembly, petition to redress grievance and the Public Meetings Act’s Appearance of Fairness Doctrine, even if they wish they were not.”

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