Shawnee Mission School District settles ACLU lawsuit over first amendment violations

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The ACLU of Kansas announced Tuesday that they have reached a settlement agreement with the Shawnee Mission School District in which the school district will adopt new measures for non-school sponsored events.

According to the ACLU of Kansas, both parties have agreed to not release details of the settlement until after the court approves the settlement in the next couple of weeks.

“The settlement is a victory for students across the Shawnee Mission School District,” Lauren Bonds said, legal director and interim executive director of ACLU of Kansas.

“We’re pleased about school district measures to ensure future students will not have their free speech rights violated at school.”

ACLU of Kansas said the settlement ends a protracted battle for student free speech and press rights that began when school administrators abruptly ended student anti-gun violence rallies, confiscated the cameras of student journalists covering the rallies, and punished some students for participating.

The Shawnee Mission School District had filed a motion in September to have student claims dismissed. Recently, Chief United States District Court Judge Julie Robinson ruled that the case could continue.

A trial date had tentatively been set for December.

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