In Could of final 12 months, a former Uvalde highschool scholar entered Robb Elementary Faculty and opened fireplace, killing 19 college students and two academics and injuring over a dozen extra. Following the taking pictures, native police confronted widespread, nationwide outrage for his or her failure to intervene for practically an hour. Ultimately, the varsity district suspended its whole police power and fired its chief of police.
Adam Martinez’s youngest son was at Robb Elementary on the day of the taking pictures—although fortunately he was bodily unhurt—and, like many different mother and father, he turned a vocal critic of the police division. Nonetheless, in retaliation for his criticism, the varsity district banned him from college property—and faculty board conferences—for 2 years.
On Monday, the Basis for Particular person Rights and Expression (FIRE) despatched a requirement letter requesting that the varsity carry its two-year ban on Martinez or face a lawsuit.
“The First Modification exists so that individuals can use their voices to advocate for social and political change,” FIRE legal professional Jeff Zeman stated in a Monday press launch. “Criticizing the federal government is protected speech, and Uvalde cannot police it.”
On February 13, 2023, Martinez attended a Uvalde Consolidated Impartial Faculty District (UCISD) Faculty Board assembly after studying that the varsity district had employed an officer that the Uvalde County Sheriff’s Workplace had judged “ineligible for rehire,” in response to the demand letter. Throughout the assembly, Martinez approached Joshua Gutierrez, the UCISD police chief, to specific considerations about this new officer.
“As a number of recordings of the assembly exhibit,” the letter states, “their dialog remained quiet and didn’t disrupt the assembly.” Nonetheless, “in response to Mr. Martinez’s calm however impassioned criticism, Chief Gutierrez informed Mr. Martinez to take a seat down. Mr. Martinez, who wished to proceed talking with Gutierrez, refused. Chief Gutierrez then lashed out by banning Mr. Martinez from all college district property and escorting Mr. Martinez and his household from the constructing.”
The following day, Martinez was despatched “a proper felony trespass warning banning him from all college district property, together with Faculty Board conferences, for 2 years.”
Ultimately, Martinez was capable of persuade college officers to let him choose his daughter up from college and attend occasions she participated in, in addition to attend his son’s baseball practices. Nonetheless, he’s nonetheless “banned from all different college property” and “from attending Faculty Board conferences and different features offering alternatives for fogeys to voice their considerations.”
Additional, when Martinez requested permission to attend his nephew’s commencement, UCISD Interim Superintendent Gary Patterson refused to reply, as an alternative quipping “It looks like you might be very keen on posting about us,” in what seems to reference Martinez’s criticism of the district on Fb.
“UCISD banned Mr. Martinez merely for elevating considerations about whom the varsity district was hiring to guard the district’s youngsters, a difficulty of comprehensible significance for Uvalde mother and father, like Mr. Martinez,” the letter states. “In doing so, UCISD has violated and is constant to violate the First Modification.”
Martinez clearly has a First Modification proper to voice his considerations to public officers and to criticize the hiring practices of the UCISD Police—and faculty officers’ need to silence him, significantly within the wake of such a horrific tragedy, signifies a disturbing lack of transparency from UCISD leaders.
“My group counts on me to be their voice, however the district desires to close me up,” Martinez stated within the press launch. “My combat has all the time been for the 21 individuals who not have a voice and for many who are too scared to talk up about social injustice.”
The demand letter ends by stating that, except the ban is lifted by Could 22, a full-scale lawsuit shall be filed.