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Missouri Teacher Sues State Over Facebook Law

Missouri Teacher Sues State Over Facebook Law

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Published by: huffpost on Aug 22, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Christina Thomas, individually and asrepresentative of others similarly situated,Plaintiff,v.Ladue School District, on its own behalf and asthe representative of all other Missouri schooldistricts, andMarsha Chappelow, in her official capacity asSuperintendent of Ladue School District andthe representative of all other Superintendents
of Missouri school districts,Peter F. Herschend, in his official capacity as a
member of Missouri State Board of Education,Rev. Stan Archie, in his official capacity as a
member of Missouri State Board of Education,Deborah L. Demien, in her official capacity asa member of Missouri State Board of Education,Michael W. Jones, in his official capacity as amember of Missouri State Board of Education,J. Michael Ponder, in his official capacity as amember of Missouri State Board of Education,Sybl Slaughter, in her official capacity as amember of Missouri State Board of Education,andRussell C. Still, in his official capacity as amember of Missouri State Board of Education.Defendants.))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))No. 4:11-cv-1453BILATERAL CLASS-ACTIONCOMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORYAND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
Christina Thomas, like all Missouri public school teachers, faces the imposition of a prior restraint on her speech. Effective August 28, 2011, Mo. Rev. Stat. § 162.069 will requireher school district, like every district, to prohibit its teachers from using any website that allowsexclusive communications with students or former students who have not graduated. On theirface, the restrictions say teachers cannot use such widely employed forms of communication asFacebook and Google Docs. Because there are no exceptions, Thomas cannot even use suchwebsites to communicate with her own child.2.
This action seeks declaratory and injunctive relief against Mo. Rev. Stat.§ 162.069’s broad prior restraint on a large amount of protected speech.
Jurisdiction and Venue
This Court has jurisdiction under
28 USC §§ 1331, 1343, 2201 and 42 USC § 1983.4.
Venue is proper in this Court pursuant to 28 USC § 1391(b) and E.D. Mo. L.R.2.07(A)(1). Defendants Ladue School District and Chappelow are located in St. Louis County,Missouri.
Plaintiff is a teacher employed by Ladue School District. She is also the parent of children who attend schools operated by Ladue School District, including the school where she isa teacher.6.
Defendant Ladue School District is a public school district that provideselementary and secondary education for all or part of ten self-governed communities in St. LouisCounty, Missouri.7.
DefendantMarsha Chappelow is Superintendent of Ladue School District. 
The supervision of the public schools is vested in the Missouri State Board of Education, which has the authority to take corrective action against school districts that fail tocomply with statutory mandates.9.
Defendants Peter F. Herschend, Rev. Stan Archie, Deborah L. Demien, MichaelW. Jones, J. Michael Ponder, Sybl Slaughter, and Russell C. Still, are members of the MissouriState Board of Education and named in their official capacities only.
Plaintiff Class Allegations
Plaintiff is a member of a class of teachers in Missouri who are employed byschool districts.11.
The number of individuals in the class of teachers in Missouri who are employedby school districts is so numerous that joinder of all members of the class would beimpracticable.12.
There are questions of law and fact that are common to the class, including, butnot limited to, the legal question of whether compliance Defendants and by the DefendantClasses with the mandate of Mo. Rev. Stat. § 162.069 violates the First and FourteenthAmendment rights of members of the Plaintiff Class.13.
Plaintiff’s claim that compliance with the mandate of Mo. Rev. Stat. § 162.069impermissibly infringes on her rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments is typical of the claims of the Plaintiff Class.14.
Plaintiff will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the Plaintiff Class.15.
Defendants and the Defendant Classes are required by Mo. Rev. Stat. § 162.069 toact on grounds generally applicable to the Plaintiff Class, making appropriate injunctive relief orcorresponding declaratory relief with respect to the Plaintiff Class and Defendant Classes aswholes.

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