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Suing School Districts Over First Amendment Rights?

Steve Rocco, an Orange Unified School District trustee filed suit in 2006 claiming that his first amendment rights were violated when he believes he was wrongfully censured by fellow trustees when he commented on the move of a principal within the district. He also claims that his rights were violated when the cable television channel allegedly edited a videotape message. The case was defeated by the courts and an appeal was shot down.

orangeusd.jpgCitizens are angry for several reasons, not to mention the man’s notable behavior during school board meetings. Still, what angers them more so is the local media’s handling of the case. They claim that the media fought for Rocco to the point of allowing the rights of Rocco’s to be more important than the rights of all the children in the Orange Unified School District, where the incident took place. Their claim stems from the funds used to pay for such lawsuits.

The Fourth District Court of Appeal has ruled that the Rocco group now owes Orange Unified District some $37,000. Rocco claims that the money is covered by a bond and as such none of that money will come out of his pocket. In short, he along with other controversial board members are no longer on the hook to pay these costs.

Justice prevailed here. With the Court decision, funds expended on this lawsuit by the school district will NOT be taken from funds used to pay for students’ educational needs.