OLATHE, Kan. — Free speech or a personal attack? That question is headed to court following public comment during Olathe Public Schools’ January board meeting.

Jennifer Gilmore, who ran and narrowly lost her race to the school board last year, has filed a lawsuit against members of the district.

She now claims her free speech rights were violated during the board’s January meeting. She’s suing a school board member, an assistant superintendent and the district’s director of safety services for shutting her down during the public comment period.

Here’s a portion of the exchange:

“Good evening. I didn’t buy my board seat, but I’m still here because I care about this district,” Gilmore said from the podium.

“You know what…” Board President Joe Beveridge said.

“Don’t interrupt me please,” Gilmore said.

The conflict starts almost immediately between the two. It got worse after she called his father-in-law, longtime Olathe City Council Member Jim Randall, a liar.

“You are done,” Beveridge said.

“Excuse me, Mr. President,” Gilmore said.

“You are done. We’re not going to talk about personal…” Beveridge started to say.

“I’m not talking about a person,” Gilmore said.

“You mentioned a person,” Beveridge said.

“Your father-in-law of your sister who’s on the board that spent $37,000 for her board seat?” Gilmore said.

“I would like to take a 5-minute break. Does anyone have an objection to that?” Beveridge said.

In her lawsuit, Gilmore’s attorney writes the actions against her are unconstitutional. Gilmore also pushes back on the idea that she said anything that deserved silencing at the board meeting.

“Yeah, I didn’t know what to think. I was surprised that that was the reaction, and I wasn’t given any reasons for why I was being removed from the building,” Gilmore said Monday.

“Their family attacked me through the whole campaign, so how is it that now you’re offended when it’s been reversed. And it was more me telling a truth than it was an attack, so I guess that’s how they interpreted it,” Gilmore said.

The district’s “Format of Public Comments,” the boilerplate agreement speakers are required to sign to participate in the public comment period, says:

“The board shall not hear personal attacks, or rude or defamatory remarks of any kind about any employee or student of the school district or any person connected with the school district.”

Also somewhat muddying the waters is that the person who defeated Gilmore back in November is the daughter of Jim Randall. On election night, Gilmore was ahead of Julia Steele in the extremely tight vote count. When all of the ballots were officially counted, Gilmore had fallen behind.

Olathe Public Schools is not yet commenting on the situation.