FORSYTH COUNTY, Georgia (LifeSiteNews) – A public school district in Georgia was ordered to pay six-figure legal fees after a lawsuit filed by a group of concerned parents who clashed with the school board over pornographic material in the middle school library.
Fox News reported that last year Alison Hair, an area mother and member of the parents group Mama Bears, attended a Forsyth County School District (FSC) school board meeting, where she objected to her son’s middle school library making available the book Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close due to its sexual content.
As an example, she began to read a passage describing oral sex but was interrupted and blocked from speaking further. She tried again the following month, and FSC sent her a letter banning her from future school board meetings, claiming she was in violation of the district’s public participation policy.
Hair and Mama Bears enlisted the Institute for Free Speech (IFS) to represent them in a lawsuit filed last July. In November, a federal judge sided with them, forbidding the district from preventing any “current or future FCS speakers entitled to speak at an FCS school board meeting, from reading or quoting verbatim from the text of any book or written works available in an FCS library or classroom, while addressing the school board during the public-comment period at school board meetings.”
This week, FCS agreed to pay the Mama Bears nominal damages of $17.91 and IFS a sum of $107,500 in legal fees. The board also “voted on a new public participation policy that was approved on Monday removing the language that speakers must conduct themselves respectfully,” and “eliminated a rule that speakers do not address board members individually or be boisterous,” according to Fox.
“Fee shifting is an important feature of our civil rights laws; and successful plaintiffs who are able to show that government officials censored them are entitled to having their attorneys’ fees paid by the wrongdoers, just like for any other form of illegal discrimination,” IFS senior attorney Del Kolde told Fox. “We hope that school-board members and their lawyers take note.”
Across the country, left-wing lectures and materials on sexuality and racial issues in taxpayer-subsidized classrooms and libraries have prompted electoral revolts and new policies in states such as Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Virginia.
In September, a New York Times/Sienna College poll found that 70% of respondents “oppose allowing public school teachers to provide classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity to children in elementary school,” including 53% of Democrats.