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Melrose SC Public Comment Policy in Violation

A Middlesex Superior Court judge ruled on November 28th 2018 that portions of the Natick School Committee’s public comment policy violate the state constitution. Judge Maynard Kirpalani said the policy violates free speech rights. "The defendants violated free speech rights, according to Kirpalani’s ruling, by attempting to silence speakers who were critical of school district". The violation of free speech ruling focused on two offending paragraphs in the policy: “Improper conduct and remarks will not be allowed. Defamatory or abusive remarks are always out of order. And “objective” criticisms are allowed, but the committee will not hear personal complaints of school personnel or any member of the school community. If it sounds familiar to you it's because it is the exact wording found in the Melrose School Committee Public Comment Policy. So how long after this ruling will it be before the Melrose School Committee removes the offending paragraphs from their public comment policy?

Re: Melrose SC Public Comment Policy in Violation

They won't. Not until someone takes them to court and they rack up another enormous legal bill.

Re: Melrose SC Public Comment Policy in Violation

You're both mistaken on the cause and impacts. The Natick policy and the Melrose SC policy (and nearly 98% of MA towns) is based off of the same Model Policies for Public Discourse (3rd Ed.) which contains provisions to limit speech in the event someone is 'improper' or 'abusive'. The Court found that the policy didn't adequately define these terms to include the general prohibitions of "obscenities","threats" or "fighting words." The quick fix will be to specifically define these terms, something the Model Policies for Public Discourse already has in draft form for its 4th Edition.

If you're being cut off at SC it is probably because you are rambling on without a concise thesis or demonstrable facts. That's an abuse of everyone's time...

Re: Melrose SC Public Comment Policy in Violation

Having stood behind "Free Speech at SC" at a prior meeting, I found the scent of his aftershave to be abusive to my nostrils! Just because they sell Old Spice for $2 per gallon doesn't mean you have to apply it with a paint brush. Clean it up, buddy.



Re: Melrose SC Public Comment Policy in Violation

Got the wrong person. I where English Leather,
my dear.

Re: Melrose SC Public Comment Policy in Violation

Then yes voters for the override should have one speaker. Same thing over and over again by the same ten people. Why does nominee see that as a massive waste of time. Then it’s the same speech in the patch or on here.. same speeches as last time.. this town never changes. Demand this and demand that for no reason and think your the “cause” and the “right”. When everyone sees through the lies then Melrose might have a chance. So sad.

Re: Melrose SC Public Comment Policy in Violation

Legal Eagle
You're both mistaken on the cause and impacts. The Natick policy and the Melrose SC policy (and nearly 98% of MA towns) is based off of the same Model Policies for Public Discourse (3rd Ed.) which contains provisions to limit speech in the event someone is 'improper' or 'abusive'. The Court found that the policy didn't adequately define these terms to include the general prohibitions of "obscenities","threats" or "fighting words." The quick fix will be to specifically define these terms, something the Model Policies for Public Discourse already has in draft form for its 4th Edition.

If you're being cut off at SC it is probably because you are rambling on without a concise thesis or demonstrable facts. That's an abuse of everyone's time...
Not to correct you Legal Beagle, but the cause and impacts were indicated in the initial post. Melrose has exactly the same issues as Natick SC had in their policy and the way it was used by the SC chair to shut down free speech and critics of the school committee and school administration. Also, the SC chair is not permitted to cut you off simply because you are "rambling on without a concise thesis or demonstrable facts" which is actually a behavior more typical of the SC chair herself.


The stubbornness of the SC chair, superintendent and their legal counsel in continually refusing to abide by the rule of law, even when called out on it by our more astute citizens, has cost Melrose taxpayers hundreds and thousands of dollars, perhaps millions, over the last several years and surely even more into the future.