Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) filed a lawsuit on Monday against the Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) after the school board allegedly sought to silence the voices of outspoken parents during public meetings.
The lawsuit named current school board member and former president, Jann-Michael Greenburg, as a defendant along with the school district.
“SUSD manipulated public input and silenced the voices of parents in order to advance its own agenda,” Brnovich said in a statement. “This type of bad school behavior demands expulsion.”
Today, our office filed a lawsuit seeking to remove Jann-Michael Greenburg from the Scottsdale Unified School Board.
Parents should never be silenced regarding the education of their children. https://t.co/iIrJPn2kBm
— Mark Brnovich (@GeneralBrnovich) June 20, 2022
The lawsuit demands Greenburg be removed from the school board, seeks civil penalties on the board, and urges changes to stop any future Open Meeting Law (OML) violations from taking place.
“The complaint alleges SUSD violated the OML by knowingly structuring an agenda and meeting so as to prohibit public comment about a proposed mask mandate and other subjects within the jurisdiction of the SUSD Governing Board, knowingly applying unauthorized content-based restrictions on public comment made during a board meeting, and knowingly cutting off or otherwise interrupting speakers during a call to the public,” a statement from Brnovich’s office added.
The dispute goes back to an August school board meeting that planned to address the district’s mask policies.
“The Board repeatedly cut off any speaker whenever Greenburg determined that the topic discussed strayed too far from the 2021-2022 instructional time model,” the lawsuit noted. “In so doing, the Board, through Greenburg, applied a content-based restriction on speech.”
The lawsuit claims the board did not allow public comment on the proposed mask mandate and other agenda items.
“The Board purposely bifurcated the agenda for the August 17, 2021, meeting to avoid allowing public comment on a proposed mask mandate and other items listed on the agenda under the ‘special meeting,'” it added.
Brnovich’s legal case follows a request to Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray in November that urged an investigation regarding the board member who allegedly had access to a Google Drive file that included the personal information of certain parents.
“Across the United States in recent months, it has been uncovered that school boards are encroaching on the constitutional rights of concerned parents. This disturbing trend has now surfaced in Arizona,” he wrote.
“I urge the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to immediately open an investigation into this matter,” he added.
BREAKING: Arizona AG is requesting that AG Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray open an investigation into the Scottsdale Unified School District board member who had access to a dossier on parents. pic.twitter.com/jiH0OLNCl5
— Chrissy Clark (@chrissyclark_) November 17, 2021
In addition to Brnovich’s lawsuit, three parents have sued Greensburg and the district over a claim that the board attempted to silence them after criticizing school board decisions. The lawsuit also noted a list of parents included in a Google Drive file with personal details included.
“It contains Social Security numbers, background checks, a divorce paper, mortgage documents, trade certifications, and screenshots of Facebook posts,” Fox News reported.
“The dossier, allegedly created by Greenburg’s father, included parents’ social security numbers, a divorce proceeding, and financial records,” The Daily Caller reported.