Southeastern Legal Foundation demands transparency over school boards changing their policies to silence parents

COLUMBIA, MISSOURI (April 19, 2022): Southeastern Legal Foundation (SLF) sued the Missouri School Boards’ Association (MSBA) for refusing to produce communications between it and Missouri’s local school boards, the National School Boards Association (NSBA), and the National Education Association (NEA) regarding policies about public comment at school board meetings.

As SLF explained in its October 2021 Open Letter to American Parents, those at the highest level of our government joined with the NSBA in an attempt to openly intimidate, harass, and silence parents speaking up for their children. After labeling parent advocates “domestic terrorists,” school boards across the country sought to change their policies for public comment—limiting not only who can speak and for how long, but also unconstitutionally limiting the content and viewpoints to be shared.

“When we see local school boards across various states all changing their policies in an effort to limit public comment and unconstitutionally silence parents, we have an obligation to the public to find out who is driving these changes,” explained Kimberly Hermann, SLF General Counsel. She continued, “That is why SLF submitted its original Sunshine Law request to the MSBA.”

Missouri’s Sunshine Law provides transparency and access to public records and applies to corporations that enter into contracts with public governmental bodies as its primary purpose, or that engage primarily in activities under agreements with public governmental bodies.

SLF through its lawsuit seeks to have MSBA recognized as a “quasi-governmental” body owing to its function in the training of public school board members and related services for public schools. SLF sought documents and communications with NSBA and NEA that would shed light on MSBA, NSBA, and the NEA’s role in directing the processes of school board meetings. The NSBA allegedly colluded with the White House and Department of Justice to investigate parents at school board meetings as possible domestic terrorists. MSBA has since publicly distanced itself from the NSBA and the request to investigate.

According to Braden H. Boucek, the Director of Litigation for SLF, “When the government outsources its public functions to private corporations, the law demands an equal amount of public transparency. No function is more classically ‘public’ than public education, and since 1988 it has been the opinion of the Missouri Attorney General that MSBA is open to Sunshine Law requests.”

Hermann stated: “The choice for America is quite simple. You either stand with the parents who simply want their kids to receive a color-blind education, or you stand with those seeking to silence them at all costs. The public has a right to know whether MSBA attempting to direct and control local school board meetings when parents express their outrage over what is happening in their children’s’ schools.”

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