EXCLUSIVE: Father Banned From Children’ Faculty After Talking Up at Faculty Board Assembly

Luis Sousa was ordered to not enter his youngsters’s college after he spoke up at a college board assembly.  

Now, the daddy is taking the native Massachusetts college district to court docket.  

The ban by the varsity system impedes Sousa’s “proper to look at his authorities … [and] take part in authorities,” his lawyer, Marc John Randazza, informed The Every day Sign throughout a cellphone interview Tuesday.  

Sousa’s youngsters, ages 5 and 6, are enrolled in Mildred H. Aitken Faculty, a part of Seekonk Public Colleges in southern Massachusetts, about 70 miles west of Cape Cod.  

Right here’s what occurred to their dad.

Sousa sought to attend a Jan. 5 assembly of the Seekonk Faculty Committee to deal with the varsity district’s masking coverage. Nevertheless, when he arrived, the time for public remark had concluded and the committee was holding a non-public govt session.  

Upon being denied entry, Sousa stood outdoors the window of the room the place committee members have been assembly and commenced to protest for his proper to provide a public remark.  

“Why are we not allowed within the assembly?” Sousa requested whereas standing outdoors, in response to a video supplied to The Every day Sign by Randazza. “You canceled two conferences. Why can’t we go?”  

Committee Chairman Kim Sluter referred to as the Seekonk Police Division, in response to Sousa’s criticism filed in court docket. The criticism states that Sluter “lied to the police that Sousa was ‘banging on the home windows’ and that he was some form of bodily menace.”  

Sluter didn’t reply to The Every day Sign’s request for remark.  

Following the incident, Colleges Superintendent Wealthy Drolet issued a short lived “no trespass” order.  

That order was lifted after a couple of months, Randazza mentioned. 

Almost 9 months later, on Sept. 26, Sousa’s spouse Kanessa Lynn made public feedback throughout one other college board assembly. She was asking to donate conservative podcaster Matt Walsh’s e book “Johnny the Walrus” to the varsity, Randazza mentioned.  

When the committee informed her that the allotted time had expired, Sousa yelled from the again of the room: “I’ll wait until my spouse’s carried out.” 

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Kanessa Lynn was informed to sit down down.  

“So, you must have had a gathering two weeks in the past,” her husband informed the committee.

The committee referred to as a recess and Sousa mentioned, “This assembly is a joke” earlier than Drolet requested him to go away. A college useful resource officer entered the assembly room and escorted Sousa out.  

The following day, Drolet notified Sousa that he supposed to difficulty a everlasting “no trespass” order. Sousa met with the superintendent Oct. 3 to debate the looming order.  

They talked concerning the incident in January when Sousa stood outdoors asking why he couldn’t attend the varsity board’s closed-door assembly.  

“We did the non permanent no trespass order final [school] 12 months based mostly on, you realize, an outburst outdoors the home windows right here the place you have been screaming and video-recording by means of the window,” Drolet informed Sousa throughout their assembly, which Sousa recorded with the superintendent’s data.  

“Let me right you there,” Sousa mentioned. “There was no screaming, there was no banging on the home windows, like that report mentioned.”  

The 2 proceeded to disagree over whether or not Sousa yelled.  

“I’m Portuguese,” Sousa informed the superintendent. “Portuguese persons are loud, we use our fingers, identical to Italians. They’re loud. We converse loud. I’m additionally bipolar. I’m not screaming, I’m not yelling, I’m recognized bipolar.”  

“It’s a distinction of opinion, I suppose,” Drolet mentioned.  

The 13-minute assembly ended with Drolet informing Sousa that the no trespassing order was in impact instantly. Sousa mentioned the varsity district can be listening to from his attorneys.  

The next day, Oct. 4, Drolet issued the everlasting order in writing.  

“Please be suggested that you’re forbidden from coming into upon the premises of Seekonk Public Colleges, together with the grounds and inside any constructing,” Drolet informed Sousa within the letter, including that he’s “not allowed to attend any Seekonk Public Colleges-related features or occasions.”  

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The letter explains that Sousa could attend parent-teacher conferences for his youngsters or a back-to-school evening provided that he offers the superintendent’s workplace at the least 48 hours’ written discover. Equally, Sousa might be able to attend occasions at his youngsters’s college if he asks permission a minimum of two days prematurely.  

Sousa could also be “topic to prison trespass and different offenses as supplied for by regulation” if he violates the order, Drolet mentioned within the letter.  

As a result of public colleges in Seekonk are used as polling places, underneath the order Sousa “has to ask the superintendent of faculties for permission to vote,” his lawyer mentioned.  

“Seekonk’s conduct is a shame,” Sousa informed The Every day Sign in a textual content Tuesday, referring to the varsity district. “Superintendent Drolet is holding my youngsters’ well-being hostage, as a result of his unconstitutional acts inform me that he doesn’t like that I don’t agree with him.” 

Within the textual content, Sousa additionally criticized Sluter, the varsity board chairwoman, for what he mentioned she did:  

Faculty Committee Chairwoman Sluter provably gave a false report back to the police about my protest as a result of, I can solely surmise, she wished the police to assume there was an actual emergency.  And I’m the one in hassle?  I’m the one who can’t go to choose my youngsters up in school, can’t go to authorities conferences, can’t even VOTE with out begging Drolet for the privilege?   

For the remainder of my life? That is outrageous, and I hope that we have now a choose with integrity.  If we do, I win. If she is merely a part of the institution, I suppose I must spend the remainder of my life successfully banished from any form of public life. 

“You don’t get to be choose, jury, and executioner … and resolve with none form of a listening to, with none form of due course of, that you simply’re going to banish any person for all times from public participation,” Randazza mentioned of the superintendent’s order relating to Sousa.  

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Sousa and his lawyer filed a movement Friday in U.S. District Court docket for a short lived restraining order and a preliminary injunction to permit Sousa to enter college buildings once more.  

“The Seekonk Faculty Committee helps the best of free speech of all Seekonk residents,” John Davis, a lawyer representing the varsity system, informed The Every day Sign in an electronic mail Tuesday. Davis added:

The Faculty Committee additionally acknowledges, nevertheless, that at instances public expression at open conferences could unreasonably disrupt or intrude with the flexibility of the Committee to conduct necessary college enterprise in an environment friendly and orderly method.

“Such disruptions and interference are uncommon, However when and in the event that they happen, the Faculty Committee is dedicated to taking all applicable measures to revive order in order that the good work of Seekonk Public Faculty directors, college students, and workers could proceed unimpeded.

Randazza argues that the superintendent’s order banning Sousa violates his First Modification proper to free speech, the equal safety clause of the 14th Modification, and the People with Disabilities Act.

“These individuals who declare to be in it for the children, I feel they’re in it for the political energy,” Randazza informed The Every day Sign, “as a result of it’s simply … so petty and small.”  

The varsity district has till Nov. 28 to reply to the court docket criticism, Randazza mentioned, and the choose will set a listening to on the movement for an injunction. 

“However each single day that goes by,” he mentioned, “Seekonk colleges are holding this man’s youngsters’ well-being hostage.”  

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