A McKinney dad has settled a federal lawsuit he filed against local school district officials after they banned him “forever” from school property over public comments he made during a school board meeting.
Samuel Hall sued McKinney Independent School District in June, accusing officials of violating his constitutionally protected right to free speech.
Hall claimed he was issued a criminal trespass citation in retaliation for criticizing the board’s failure to remove sexually explicit books from students’ libraries. The citation barred him from all McKinney ISD property.
With help from longtime education advocate Debra Liva, Hall spent months trying to challenge the trespass citation via the district grievance process. Eventually, they appealed to the Texas Education Agency, which ruled the citation was invalid.
By that time, though, district officials had kept Hall away from his children’s on-campus activities for an entire school year.
Five months after filing his lawsuit, Hall resolved his claims against the district through a settlement and the case was dismissed on December 1.
Hall told Texas Scorecard he and his family are thankful to finally put this issue to rest.
“My prayer is that this case can be an example and encouragement to parents that they do not have to sacrifice their constitutional rights when school boards overstep their authority and illegally trespass parents for expressing views that do not align with their own,” said Hall.
“I also hope this serves as an example to our elected officials that they must uphold the integrity of the office to which they have been elected and not abuse the authority that they have been entrusted with,” he added.
“I am grateful that we have been able to resolve Mr. Hall’s claims against McKinney ISD,” added Hall’s attorney Janelle Davis, who represents families fighting for their rights within Texas’ public school system.
“One of the reasons Mr. Hall pursued this case was to show other parents that they do not have to sit by and allow school districts to violate the law and abuse their authority,” said Davis. “It is possible to hold them accountable, and I would encourage other parents to speak up when something is not right.”
“There is strength in numbers, and using your voice gives other people the courage to do the same,” she said.