". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Maine High School Faces Lawsuit after Trying to Censor Journalist Exposing Trans Ideology

March 5, 2024

On Friday, former federal prosecutor Barbara McQuade was on MSNBC and said the First Amendment makes America “vulnerable to claims that anything we try to do to regulate speech is censorship.” Or as The Daily Wire paraphrased, it “makes it hard for Democrats to be able to ‘regulate speech’ without being accused of censorship.”

Experts say this is a timely statement in the context of recent headlines. Just in these last few weeks, a journalist, Shawn McBrearity, sued a high school in Maine over their attempt to censor him.

McBrearity was on site at Brewer High School to report on their transgender bathroom policies. But during his investigation, he became skeptical of the superintendent and former principal, Greg Palmer, for not only allowing biological males into girls’ bathrooms, but for partaking in a drag-show performance with the students. As McBrearity wrote on X, “Brewer School Department Superintendent Gregg Palmer is pushing DEI onto students.”

After McBrearity published his February 12 article on his findings, entitled, “Girls’ bathrooms are not safe spaces when males are present,” the school “threatened … to take legal action against” him if he did not take the story down.

This happened after several students at Brewer created a petition requesting the school “change the [bathroom] policy and protect girls’ privacy.” But as McBrearity’s legal team at the Center for American Liberty (CAL) stated, the “radical Leftist school officials caught wind of the petition and immediately shut it down.” CAL added, “These officials directly threatened students, telling these teenagers they could be charged with a ‘hate crime’ for merely voicing their opinion that boys should not be in girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms.”

A prominent conservative account on X, Libs of TikTok, described these circumstances as “unreal,” and posted, “Imagine letting your kids get educated by someone who doesn’t believe in the [F]irst [A]mendment.”

McBrearity said he ultimately decided to pull his content down “out of fear for his family’s safety and finances,” The Post Millennial reported. And in an interview with Libs of TikTok, McBrearity said, “Hundreds of these schools have these woke policies that are putting females in harm’s way.” He added, “Now we are basically forced to fight for our First Amendment rights, and those First Amendment rights of those students. They want to bully us into silence, they want to make sure that none of these stories are exposed, and that none of these parents understand how big a risk it is to have their children in these … schools.”

First Amendment Attorney Marc Randazza said, “I don’t know that I’ve ever seen such a First Amendment upon First Amendment violation before.” But as CAL stated in the lawsuit, “This case is about our most basic freedoms. The government can’t silence open discourse or opposing viewpoints. A victory for Shawn is a victory for all Americans’ right to free speech.”

Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for Education Studies at Family Research Council, shared her thoughts about these unfolding circumstances with The Washington Stand. “The taxpayers of Maine support education by generously funding schools,” she said. But “they do not expect that money to be used by school district lawyers to threaten parents with legal action when parents express opposition to school policies.”

She added that a similar occurrence happened “in Washington, D.C. when the national school board association demanded parents be investigated as ‘domestic terrorists.’” And she concluded, “It seems legal counsel for this school district shares this authoritarian attitude toward parents.”

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.