So there it is. A public school system in Minnesota has deemed “Black Lives Matter” and other various slogans to be privileged “official government speech,” thus making them “uniquely privileged” “official government speech,” generally considered to be exempt from challenge by dissenting opinion ordinarily protected under the First Amendment.
Rochester Public School board members unanimously approved a sweeping resolution that authorizes the superintendent to actively promote the slogans Black Lives Matter, Brown Lives Matter, Indigenous Lives Matter, All Are Welcome Here, and Stop Asian Hate:
Minnesota school district adopts Black Lives Matter slogan as privileged ‘government speech’ | Just The News https://t.co/NPBiXbz1ng
— John Solomon (@jsolomonReports) May 9, 2021
Moreover, RPS Superintendent Michael Muñoz is also directed to take all actions “that further the objectives” of the resolution, including by approving “messaging, signage, and visuals” for the slogans. The district also adopted the six-color “pride flag” as “government speech” to support “a message of inclusion” within schools, according to Just the News.
As reported by the local ABC News affiliate, KAAL TV, the school board claimed the resolution was a “legal defense move.” It’s the “Why is it a necessary legal defense?” question that should not be a shock to anyone. And here’s the answer, per KAAL:
By declaring certain phrases involving the Black Lives Matter movement as government speech, the board is protecting itself from legal action because it is allowing one type of speech, but not any speech in opposition to those phrases.
John Edison, the Rochester Public Schools attorney told KAAL:
“So here with adopting the messages that you’re adopting as government speech, you’re saying these are the messages that we’re communicating as a school district, and by doing that we’re not also creating a forum to allow other types of speech to enter the forum.”
“Black lives matter” is fine. “Brown lives matter” as well. “White lives matter,” not so much. In taxpayer-funded public schools. In America, no less. That is profound.
And again, it’s not just “black lives matter,” “indigenous lives matter,” etc. but also approved signage, visuals, and flags — all containing approved political messaging — that is now declared “official government speech” and therefore tacitly protected under the First Amendment. As critical, the resolution was also adopted to exclude messaging deemed “undesirable” by Rochester Public Schools.
I don’t need to point out similar “protections” for “some groups” at the often-cataclysmic expense of “other groups” throughout history that didn’t turn out well at all, right?
KAAL further reported that the day before the unanimous resolution was adopted, Muñoz told staff to ignore “misinformation circulating on social media” that top officials had ordered the removal of “BLM messaging” in classrooms.
Did Rochester Public Schools Say to Remove All ‘Black Lives Matter’ Materials? https://t.co/zrVF4mdNwz
— 106.9 KROC (@krocfm) April 27, 2021
“I feel incredibly sorry that anyone had to feel that way and that there was any question of our commitment to equity in that respect,” said Dr. Jessica Garcia, RPS board director.
Rochester Public Schools responds to claims that teachers were told to remove Black Lives Matter messages in classrooms. The school board chair believes someone misinterpreted a discussion during a leadership meeting. pic.twitter.com/o1vMTdPYXH
— KaMaria B. (@KamOnCam_) April 26, 2021
And so the unanimous resolution — just to make sure no one “had to feel that way.”
Rochester Public Schools board voted unanimously Tuesday evening to make several phrases and images, including “Black Lives Matter,” government speech, meaning the school can’t be held liable for allowing those views while not allowing opposing views. https://t.co/aV2uk6f7xE
— ABC 6 News – KAAL TV (@ABC6NEWS) April 28, 2021
RPS board chair Jean Marvin
lied her ass off explained what the resolution is “not.”
“It is not about telling students what to think and what they can and cannot say, but it does give our district and our staff the authority to speak out about these lives that matter.”
I suppose in a sense Marvin was right. It’s so-called “critical race theory” that “tells (indoctrinates) students what to think and what they can and cannot say,” along with how white students should feel guilt-ridden — if not loathsome — over their “whiteness.”
Another “key issue” on the school board’s agenda was whether to renew the district’s contract with the Rochester Police Department for another year.
RPD provides five officers to the district to work in schools as community resource officers, according to KAAL. Marvin told the station:
“They may not keep us safer because they keep the shooter away, but because they know our students and they are able to de-escalate bad situations before they become situations that other law enforcement needs to get involved in.”
I wonder if the ability to “de-escalate bad situations” before they require the involvement of law enforcement would have worked with knife-wielding Ma’Khia Bryant? Just a thought.
“Shockingly,” some board members strenuously opposed having armed officers interacting with students, said Garcia.
“We’re offering an easement for those who might not have been involved with the criminal legal system otherwise. We’re facilitating that pipeline.”
The board narrowly voted to renew its Rochester PD contract for another year, but several board members stressed that it’s only until they can “find another solution.” Perhaps part of that “solution” should include an anger management specialist who “works very quickly,” on the off chance Rochester Public Schools is ever faced with a “Ma’Khia Bryant issue.”
Meanwhile, America — mind your slogans, signage, visuals, and flags.