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A Wisconsin mother alleges the Oconomowoc-area school district was trying to quell her criticism of materials, such as books, in the district by threatening her with legal action.
After Alexandra Schweitzer, president of a No Left Turn in Education chapter in the state, raised concerns about the material’s suitability in the district, the district responded with a cease and desist letter. abstain that threatened the possibility of future litigation if she continued to make “defamatory statements” via meetings or email. Her attorney, Wisconsin Law & Liberty Group, responded Friday saying Schweitzer “will not revoke any statements she has made” and accused the district of using taxpayer dollars to silence a parent.
“In fact, the use of outside counsel by the Oconomowoc Area School District…to send threatening letters to parents who speak in good faith about their experiences with a school district is contrary to our Constitution and the obligation of your clients as public officials,” the law group said in response.
“This is a very serious allegation the district is making in response to it really trying to be an intimidation tactic for parents,” mother’s attorney Libby Sobic told Fox News Digital. . “They have no legal claim available to them, not only when our client’s statement is true, but secondly it fails to meet any of the defamation requirements under the law.”
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“The…Supreme Court has made it clear that damages cannot be awarded to a public official for statements concerning his official conduct unless they are made with genuine malice…You cannot go near the establishment of this standard,” the response reads. The mother’s lawyer further argued that some of her statements are “conditionally protected” since they were “given as testimony in a legislative proceeding”. Regarding an email that the district objected to, the response said it was a “non-actionable opinion” that was also “made without actual malice.”
“I really feel like I’m intimidated into silence,” Schweitzer added.
“My biggest message to parents and taxpayers is that the parent is the primary educator of the child. And we have a right to know what’s going on in the classroom…And I’m here because many, many parents don’t want to stand up… They’re afraid their child will be bullied or they’re afraid they’ll be blacklisted themselves. And I’m not going to oppose such tyranny,” he said. she declared.
In the stop and forbearance, the district said Schweitzer’s defamatory allegations included his statements regarding the district’s use of a book called “The 57 Bus,” which the mother claims contains sexually explicit. The district said only portions of the text were read to students “for purposes of critical thinking and writing crafts” and were not available to students. They also claimed that books that Schweitzer deemed inappropriate were not available “to… library students for checkout… [or] in the District curriculum. »
The district further claimed that the parent was notified that “texts…deemed inappropriate [were] not available to Oconomowoc Area School District students in the library for payment, nor [were] that they used in the district program. »
The letter asked the parent to “cease and desist” from making “defamatory statements” about the district and to issue a retraction email “stating that the information is false.”
“The Oconomowoc Area School District and its school board have the right to take legal action to restrain you from continuing to distribute statements containing the false statements in the letter and testimony referenced above, and to seek damages against you,” the Cease and Desist said. .
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“If the school district wanted to shut me up, it failed. School districts need to know that parents won’t back down and that legal threats won’t deter us from watching over our children,” Schweitzer said. “It’s hard to get a letter like that. It shocks you. But I had faith in what I was doing… – standing up for the community.”
Fox News Digital contacted the district, via its attorney, but did not immediately receive a response.