A Kansas man is suing his local school district for viewpoint discrimination after being banned from school property for over two years.
It’s one of two lawsuits Justin Spiehs has filed, claiming violations of his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
The first was filed in November against the city commission of Lawrence, while the second addresses the actions of the Lawrence Public Schools (LPS) board.
The second lawsuit alleges that board members repeatedly censured Spiehs’ public comments because they disagreed with him.
In addition to having his speech censured, Spiehs was given a lifelong ban from school district property for not wearing a mask – even though he had a medical exemption, the suit alleges. Other members of the public who also didn’t wear masks reportedly didn’t receive the same punishment.
“Those restrictions are not reasonable,” said Linus Baker, Spiehs’ legal representative. “If the government opens a forum for discussion, it cannot undermine that discussion by excluding otherwise relevant speech.”
Before gaining notoriety for protesting left-wing policies, Spiehs was a therapist and addiction counselor with a Ph.D. in human development. He also is a military veteran and received the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for his service.
“The defendant’s respective actions targeted certain viewpoints on a subject matter such as defendant Lewis [Lawrence’s superintendent], [LPS] students and staff,” the lawsuit said. “Defendents have targeted Dr. Spiehs’ particular views on those topics for disparate and adverse treatment. Defendants restricted and punished Dr. Spiehs’ views because they didn’t like him and because of their respective specific motivating ideology, opinion, and perspective.
According to his social media bio, Spiehs disagrees with mask mandates and COVID-19 vaccines for children, abortion, and “woke” ideology. He also criticized Superintendent Lewis’ $236,000 salary.
“The government defendants cannot prohibit future expressive activity by Dr. Spiehs as a result of some purported past unlawful conduct,” Baker concluded. “This is raw retaliatory censorship.”
Spiehs’ lawsuit against LPS will have its first hearing Jan. 11.