A father in Maine who’d been barred from events at his daughters’ school for speaking against sexually explicit reading material has won the right to show up.
The U.S. District Court for Maine decided in favor of Shawn McBreairty, who argued that his ban by Regional School Unit 22 had violated his constitutional rights, reports Fox News.
The district claimed it had banned McBreairty from school functions because of his “blatant and repeated failure” to comply with the board’s “reasonable policies regarding meeting attendance.” It also described an audio recording he had played at a meeting as containing “obscene language.”
But Judge Nancy Torresen wrote in her ruling that “it is hard to shake the sense that the School Board is restricting the speech because the Board disagrees with both Mr. McBreairty’s opinions and the unpleasantness that accompanies them.” Moreover, McBreairty’s reference to “hardcore anal sex” in a book in the school library wasn’t obscene under the law because it had not appealed to any prurient interest, and was “offered to make a political or philosophical point,” Torresen wrote.
Among the books McBreairty raised concerns about were “The Other Boy,” about a 12-year-old boy who attempts to keep his family from knowing he is transgender, and “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” a title that has been removed from libraries in a number of states because of what has been called “sexually graphic material.”
The court’s issuance of a restraining order in the father’s favor, overturning the ban, was “a huge first step for parents in Maine and across the country to be able to use their protected free speech to address the educational issues we are seeing in these public schools,” McBreairty told Fox News Digital.
“It’s a win for everyone, regardless of political affiliation, sex, race, or sexuality, as the First Amendment speaks for all Americans.”
The ruling was applauded by McBreairty’s attorney, Marc Randazza.
“Government apparatchiks can’t banish people from public life because they don’t like being challenged,” Randazza said in a statement. “Serving in the government means you have to accept criticism. If you can’t do that, you have no business in that position.
“I’m very impressed with how much work the judge put into her ruling, upholding the First Amendment rights of someone with whom I presume she does not personally agree. But that’s what a principled judge does.”
McBreairty told Fox Digital the school board’s attempt to keep him away had “created even more fear of cancel culture in the region. Who would speak up if they are going to be criminalized?”
A volunteer with the conservative Maine First Project, McBreairty also has previously maintained that Critical Race Theory, asserting that systemic racism continues in the U.S., is being taught in local schools.
Speaking on Fox’s The Faulkner Focus last year – after criticizing a school “equity letter” to the community that he said “basically called us all white supremacists” – McBreairty, “The woke mob, the trolls, they go after everybody. I got pushed, and I pushed back pretty hard.”
According to Fox News, McBreairty is the subject of a pending lawsuit from the neighboring Hermon School Department for allegedly bullying a teacher and making false statements.