Education law firm F3 Law filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the California School Boards Association (CSBA) in a closely watched case, O’Connor-Ratcliff v. Garnier. CSBA is a nonprofit association representing nearly 1,000 K-12 school districts and county offices of education throughout California.
In the brief, CSBA and F3 Law seek guidance on school board member social media use, which will impact school board members and public officials nationwide. F3 Law and CSBA asked the Supreme Court to overturn the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in O’Connor-Ratcliff v. Garnier, which held that school board members cannot block trolls and spam if they post about school board business because it creates a public free speech forum on their personal social media accounts. CSBA and F3 Law encouraged the U.S. Supreme Court to recognize that individual school board members generally do not have the authority to speak on behalf of their board and, as such, their personal social media accounts should not be treated the same as district regulated websites. Alternatively, if the Supreme Court upholds the Ninth Circuit’s decision, then CSBA and F3 Law requested that the Court address the use of a disclaimer identifying the page as personal so that school board members can manage their social media in a reasonable manner.
The F3 Law team that represented CSBA includes partners Peter Fagen, Christopher Keeler, Gretchen Shipley, and Lynn Beekman.
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