Schools are for Educating Students, Not Politics

For many years there has been a movement aimed at separating children from the traditional authority of the family. Parental rights are the law of the land according to U.S. Supreme Court legal precedent.

Meyer v Nebraska and Pierce v. Society of Sisters are two landmark cases reinforcing parental rights. In Meyer, the Court struck down a state statute that criminalized teaching students in any foreign language in public or private schools.  In the Pierce case, the Court struck down an Oregon law requiring attendance at public schools.

In Troxel v. Granville (2000), the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Washington state law that allowed grandparents to petition state courts for child visitation rights over parental objections. The Court upheld parental rights against statutory grandparent rights. The court found Meyer and Pierce controlling,

James Payne and his wife are the parents of twin nine-year old boys. The two boys attend a school in the Highline School District which is in the SeaTac-Burien area near Seattle. Mr. Payne retained the Law Office of Mark Knapp PLLC to write a letter to Holly Ferguson and the school board demanding that the District stop posting political propaganda in school hallways and classrooms. The District’s lawyers responded in writing with a December, 2022 letter refusing to remove posters allegedly promoting the transgender, LGBQT agenda. Mr. Payne also objected to Black Lives Matter posters and other material allegedly endorsing Communist figureheads like Che Guevara, a sociopath who killed and tortured many innocent Cuban people.

Highline School District claims that these signs do not violate parents’ and children’s civil rights by creating a hostile learning environment. Ms. Ferguson, who has a law degree and seems to be the chief diversity officer for the District, responded to one of Mr. Payne’s emails as follows:

“These signs are not considered “political” for the purposes of policy and procedure 4412.  That policy is talking about “political activity” in the context of lobbying officials, or other overt political acts, such as campaigning.”

But the last time we checked, the Washington State Constitution preempts policy and any procedures promulgated by Ms. Ferguson, other school officials and bureaucrats within OSPI, the Governor and the lawmakers in Olympia:

“All schools maintained or supported wholly or in part by the public funds shall be forever free from sectarian control or influence.”

-Article IX, Section 4 WA State Constitution

Sectarian – Of, relating to, or characteristic of a sect or sectarian; Sectarian means belonging to or relating to a sect, which is a smaller group within a larger religious or political group;

Sect – A group of people forming a distinct unit within a larger group by virtue of certain refinements or distinctions of belief or practice.

Ms. Ferguson’s email to Payne states:

“I note you cite the Barnette decision from 1943 but that case is not on all fours with the posters at question here.  A more relevant citation would be Tinker v Des Moines, from 1969, wherein the Supreme Court decreed that “neither students nor teachers shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate”, in upholding the ability of students and staff to (in that case) wear black armbands during school in protest of the Vietnam war. Teachers and other school staff have the ability to put posters up in their classrooms. The fact that some of the posters are supported by one or more unions or other groups does not make them prohibited, nor does it make them inherently political.”

So it’s supposedly all about free speech for teachers. What would happen if a teacher dared to post a message in her classroom that advocates abstinence or traditional marriage? Education takes a backseat to teachers’ free speech.


But James Payne, the Plaintiff in James Payne vs Highline School District, cites a 2006 SCOTUS decision entitled “Garcetti v. Ceballos,” where Justice Kennedy wrote:

“When public employees make statements pursuant to their official duties, the employees are not speaking as citizens for First Amendment purposes, and the Constitution does not insulate their communications from employer discipline.”

Donate here:

Propaganda posters displayed by HSD are in fact, personal political statements, displayed by teachers within the public schools pursuant to the teacher’s/administration’s official duties, and thus deserve no Constitutional insulation from discipline. Therefore, HSD and the courts should uphold SCOTUS precedent.

Payne filed the Complaint in federal District Court in Seattle. See Complaint here.

HSD failed to discipline the teachers and administrators who displayed political propaganda in public school buildings. The District is fighting back against parental rights by using taxpayer funds against the very parents who pay the taxes! HSD retained a preeminent Spokane law firm to strike at the core of parent’s right to educate their children in a neutral academic environment, free from sectarian influence:

Sectarian indoctrination in Washington schools may explain the dismal academic performance reflected in the statistics regarding what matters most in schools; i.e., academic preparation for our children’s future. The Payne family and their supporters are requesting donations to fund attorney’s fees and costs of litigating this important case. Repudiate the radical ideology which has now proliferated into a secular-based religion of Diversity at  Highline School District and other school districts.

Donate here

Any assistance is greatly appreciated!

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