A group of Lakeville, Minnesota, families, has filed a discrimination lawsuit against their local school district after claiming that it only allowed “Black Lives Matter” posters and did not permit signs from opposing sides such as “All Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter.”
In the suit filed Aug. 6 against Independent School District 194 and Superintendent Michael Baumann, plaintiffs Bob and Cynthia Cajune — who are the parents of a 9-year-old whose speech at a school board meeting about the issue went viral this summer — Kaylynn Kay Aker, and others who were not identified alleged that when asked if “alternative ideological viewpoints be presented alongside the Black Lives Matter posters” ISD 194 denied the request, explaining that they disapprove of such slogans.
The school’s retort is that “the All Lives Matters and Blue Lives Matter mottos were created specifically in opposition to Black Lives Matter.” Furthermore, that those messages “effectively discount the struggle the Black students have faced in our school buildings and that Black individuals face in our society as a whole.”
However, the plaintiffs argue in their legal filing that this position is “false” and violates the First Amendment. The lawsuit also states that the school district has a policy that asks for neutrality on all political issues. The suit comes following an April 2021 event created by ISD 194 titled “Inclusive Poster Series,” which included Black Lives Matter posters.
“Black Lives Matter, of course, but so do all other human lives. Posting ‘BLM’ signs and disallowing ‘All Lives Matter’ signs is political speech or viewpoint discrimination,” Bob Cajune said in a statement obtained by KSTP. “Discriminating against or demeaning any race is not neutral and is wrong.”
The plaintiffs are being represented by the right-wing public interest law group the Upper Midwest Law Center.
In a statement sent to KSTP, Lakeville Area Schools wrote:
While we have not yet been served a complaint, it is our understanding that one was filed in United States District Court on August 6, 2021. We disagree with the claims made against Lakeville Area Schools and believe there is no legal basis for them.
At Lakeville Area Schools we strive to ensure the success of each and every student in our school community. We believe that each and every student has a state constitutional right to a public education that is equal, equitable and free of racism and harassment. We welcome all students and all perspectives. We are committed to creating inclusive and affirming school communities where every student experiences a strong sense of belonging and feels valued.
The plaintiffs want the judge to rule that Lakeville is violating First Amendments rights and the Civil Rights Act by creating “a hostile educational environment for students.”