FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, April 26, 2023
UMLC Files Lawsuit Against School District for Violations of Board Member’s First Amendment Rights
Ms. Sorcan has served the District for over twenty years without previous complaints
Golden Valley, MN – Today, the Upper Midwest Law Center filed a lawsuit against Independent School District 2909 on behalf of Board Member Pollyann Sorcan for deliberate and continuous damages to Ms. Sorcan’s First Amendment rights. The board’s actions prevented Ms. Sorcan from effectively performing her duties as a board member.
Ms. Sorcan would ask relevant but tough questions regarding policies before the board. The other board members grew frustrated by this and chose to retaliate against her inappropriately. Additionally, she would advocate for members of the public who wanted to speak, which was considered intolerable to some of the other members.
On August 9, 2021, ISD 2909 passed a resolution to censure Ms. Sorcan based on unsupported allegations of misconduct, limiting her free speech and access to committee meetings. Ms. Sorcan was not just censured—she was also stripped of committee assignments, and the Board attempted to bar her from even attending committee meetings to be informed of the Board’s business like any citizen. After seventeen months, on February 13, 2023, Ms. Sorcan was finally reinstated to three committees, less than all other Board members, and continues to face retaliation by the Board.
The defendants made various unfounded allegations against Ms. Sorcan in the resolution authorizing a censure. Upon her denial of these allegations and request for evidence, the Board failed to provide any, yet censure against her was still approved.
“When our client advocated for fiscal discipline, sought to be truly informed as to the matters on which the Board votes, and supported the public’s right to be heard under Board policy, the Board retaliated against her by censuring her and stripping her of committee assignments, in violation of her First Amendment rights,” said James Dickey, Senior Trial and Appellate Counsel at the Upper Midwest Law Center. “The Board took unreasonable and unconstitutional actions against her. We are committed to rectifying that in a court of law.”
To this day, no support has been provided for the Board’s allegations, and she continues to face retaliation by the Board. Read the full lawsuit filed in the District Court of Minnesota here.
Upper Midwest Law Center is a non-profit, public-interest law firm with the mission to initiate pro-freedom litigation to protect against constitutional violations, government overreach, special interest agendas, and public union corruption and abuses. UMLC is a 501(c)(3) organization.