School board members reported mom to employer, DOJ for criticizing COVID school closures
October 6, 2022
School board members reported a police detective to her employer and the U.S. Department of Justice for showing “disrespect,” making “over dramatic” comments about COVID-19 school policies and threatening to sue the district if it kept interrupting her at board meetings.
According to the lawyer for Michigan’s Chippewa Valley Schools, the elected school board members were just exercising their First Amendment rights as private citizens, and the board had no involvement.
Sandra Hernden filed a First Amendment retaliation lawsuit against the school board and members Frank Bednard and Elizabeth Pyden, seeking to remove qualified immunity from the individual public officials for violating “a clearly defined constitutional right.”
Even if Bednard and Pyden lose legal protection and face personal liability, Hernden won’t seek more than $1 in nominal damages, according to Holly Wetzel, director of public relations for Hernden’s lawyers at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
Bednard’s Oct. 5 2021 report to DOJ came a day after Attorney General Merrick Garland promised to prosecute “harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence” against school boards, which itself followed a National School Boards Association letter implying that harsh criticism of COVID policies was “domestic terrorism.”
The board president told fellow members and Superintendent Ronald Roberts that he had forwarded to DOJ Hernden’s email, which informed the board of an appeals court ruling prohibiting restrictions on “abusive” and “antagonistic” language at public meetings.
Read more at Just the News.