A Minnesota nonprofit plans to sue Rochester Public Schools for its decision to make “Black Lives Matter” and other left-wing phrases “government speech.”
As Alpha News reported, this means, in theory, that the school district does not have to create space for dissenting opinions.
“[By] adopting the messages that you’re adopting as government speech, you’re saying these are the messages that we’re communicating as a school district, and by doing that we’re not also creating a forum to allow other types of speech to enter the forum,” said John Edison, attorney for the Rochester Public Schools Board.
The school board voted unanimously in April to make symbols and slogans like “Black Lives Matter,” “Brown Lives Matter,” “Indigenous Lives Matter,” “All Are Welcome Here,” “Stop Asian Hate,” and the pride flag all forms of government speech.
With government speech, “it is the government itself that is speaking … it can control what that message is,” Edison said.
“So, you don’t have the same issue [of] people coming forward and saying that by expressing a certain message you have to allow others to be expressed, too. That concept does not apply when you’re talking about government speech,” he explained.
However, Upper Midwest Law Center President Doug Seaton said he believes that the district “cannot lawfully adopt the acronym and slogans of a controversial political organization, with Marxist, black supremacist, racist, and anti-American views as ‘government speech.’”
“Government speech is speech related to the public entity’s actual mission, like statements about a flood, an arrest or legislative action, which is therefore protected from legal challenge. But trying to insulate controversial speech from alternative views and legal challenge by labeling it government speech is an inappropriate attempt at suppressing other views and illegal,” added Seaton.
Seaton said his group is currently looking for plaintiffs for a lawsuit against the school district and encouraged residents or parents who oppose the move to contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org