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Montgomery County Public Schools is Told To Stop Violating First Amendment By Blocking People on X

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Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) find themselves at the center of a robust constitutional dispute as America First Legal (AFL) condemns the school district for alleged First Amendment infringements. AFL, acting on the grounds of defending constitutional liberties, dispatched a letter to MCPS addressing what they describe as unequivocal violations of free speech rights by unlawfully blocking users on the social media platform, X.

We obtained a copy of the letter for you here.

Representing the X account, @EITC_Official, also known as “Inside the Classroom,” AFL vociferously argues for its right to free speech and engagement in public discourse. Inside the Classroom, dedicated to holding publicly funded schools accountable for what it calls the “indoctrination” of students on varied topics including “gender identity,” insists its voice, like all others, should be unfettered on platforms designed for public conversation.

This constitutional altercation was sparked when Inside the Classroom, post-mentioning MCPS in a tweet, found itself blocked around February 14, 2023, impeding its abilities to interact with MCPS’s posts or follow its account. AFL views this as a blatant instance of viewpoint discrimination, impacting an account that MCPS has previously kept open to the public for commentaries, thereby breaching Inside the Classroom’s First Amendment prerogatives.

The episode originated when Inside the Classroom on February 10, 2023, disclosed a TikTok video featuring an MCPS teacher and contended, “[t]his teacher at @MCPS claims the idea of parental rights are based in fascism and that parents who reject their child’s gender identity are not taking care of their children.”

AFL, voicing the sentiments of myriad anti-censorship advocates, asserts that MCPS’s act of blocking contradicts its own proclaimed “Best Practices for Employees,” a guideline which advises against the blocking of users or deletion of comments by MCPS personnel. AFL contends that the transgression is not merely against their internal norms but extends to a far graver breach of constitutional provisions, echoing the principles upheld by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Davison v. Randall.

The issue underscores the broader thematic concerns surrounding censorship, free speech, and the ever-evolving dynamics of public discourse, especially with the involvement of educational institutions. The muting of voices, particularly those seeking to hold institutions accountable, draws attention to the delicate equilibrium between open dialogue and institutional controls. In essence, it accentuates the necessity for varied perspectives in fostering an environment of constructive deliberations, especially on matters pertaining to education and youth development.

AFL, subsequently, is unyielding in its demand that MCPS immediately cease its blockade of Inside the Classroom on platform X and rectify any breaches of the First Amendment by unblocking all relevant users.

Ian Prior, America First Legal Senior Advisor, explicated AFL’s stance, saying, “It isn’t enough that Montgomery County Public Schools has been trampling all over parental rights. Now, MCPS teachers are taking to social media to bash parents as ‘fascist’ for daring to protect their children from the radical and abusive transgender agenda. Then, MCPS hits the trifecta of bad judgment and violates the First Amendment rights of those, like Inside the Classroom, that are shining the spotlight of accountability on what is happening at our schools. We look forward to MCPS taking swift action to unblock all accounts and come into compliance with the First Amendment.”

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