Last year, I covered a board meeting at the Wauwatosa School Board in Wisconsin. The board was implementing pornographic content in its elementary school program that was so graphic that local news wouldn’t show it on television. Parents, activists, and protesters streamed to the meeting to let their voices be heard against the sexualization of children.
A thread to explain the hilarious yet necessary lawsuit that I’m going to file against the Wauwatosa School Board and why I need your help. On October 25th I live streamed the Wauwatosa WI meeting. Many parents came out to protest the graphic sexual grooming in the curriculum. pic.twitter.com/ZsHE2aCpEU
— Megan Fox (@MeganFoxWriter) December 15, 2022
Among them was Jaimee Michell, the head of Gays Against Groomers. When it came time for public comment, the board began to intimidate the crowd, including Michell, demanding that she dox herself on camera and give her address before she could speak.
The board also shut down any speech that was critical toward members, chastising members of the crowd for using their first names, even though they are elected officials. Though I was there to cover the event for my YouTube channel and only planned to stream it without comment, I couldn’t help myself after watching all the violations of rights in which the board gleefully engaged.
The following comments will go down in Wauwatosa’s history as one of the worst moments that the board ever suffered.
You might remember helping me raise $10,000 to pay Robert Barnes of Barnes Law to sue them for cutting me off unlawfully and before my time expired. That lawsuit is finally settled, and the Wauwatosa bad actors had to pay every dime of legal fees, cut me a check for what Alex Stein calls “Olive Garden money,” and issue a public apology.
— Megan Fox (@MeganFoxWriter) November 12, 2023
“Regarding the events of October 24, 2022, the Wauwatosa School Board offers you an apology for the manner in which it handled your presentation during the public comment agenda item at the School Board meeting,” the letter read. One can imagine the school board president dictating this letter through gritted teeth. Legally mandated apologies are always funny.
My excellent attorney Robert Barnes was shocked by the apology which he says has never happened before. The district also did not bother to try to go to court. Their position was untenable and sure to lose.
Not only did the board have to pay me, pay my lawyers, and write an apology, but it also had to change its public participation policy. Before the lawsuit, the Wauwatosa School Board policy on public comments was overly broad and targeted the First Amendment right to speak with outrageous language.
“The presiding officer may interrupt, warn, or terminate a participant’s statements, public comment when the statement is too lengthy, personally directed, abusive, directed to anyone other than the Board presiding officer, obscene, or irrelevant, or disruptive.”
The settlement that we agreed to changed that sentence in the following way: “The presiding officer may interrupt, warn, or terminate public comment when the statement is too lengthy, directed to anyone other than the Board presiding officer, obscene, or disorderly.”
Wauwatosa can no longer cut off comments it simply doesn’t like because it feels in its false sense of self-imposed importance that the comments are “abusive, personally directed, irrelevant, or disruptive.” Instead, members must adhere to the legal standard of disorderly conduct.
Another policy item that was changed was the demand for private information before speaking. The old policy required name, address, and affiliation with the school district. The Board now only asks for a name. It has also moved public comment time to the beginning of the meetings so that no one is forced to sit through two-plus hours of board business to have his or her say.
Robert Barnes sat down with me to discuss these changes and the implications this lawsuit will have going forward in Wisconsin and across the country.