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NYC moms file federal lawsuit against leftist education officials who allegedly punish those with dissenting views
Defendant, Community Educational Council for District 14 president Tajh Sutton (YouTube video, PRESS NYC - Screenshot)

NYC moms file federal lawsuit against leftist education officials who allegedly punish those with dissenting views

Three elected parent leaders are suing radical New York City education officials for allegedly "weaponizing their disdain" against those who refuse to embrace leftist beliefs and speech codes.

The Institute of Free Speech filed a complaint in federal court last week on behalf of Deborah Alexander, Maud Maron, and Noah Harlan, stressing that the "First Amendment does not allow New York City's Department of Education to function as a Department of Conformity."

The suit alleges that Community Educational Council for District 14 President Tajh Sutton and Vice President Marissa Manzanares have brought their political prejudices to bear in their official roles, adopting tyrannical tactics that adversely impact the plaintiffs' liberties. The leftist duo's campaign against dissenters has allegedly been helped along by New York Public Schools Chancellor David Banks and NYPS equity compliance offier Nina Mickens, also named as defendants.

Sutton is a radical leftist and identitarian who has called for police to be defunded, has championed COVID-19 vaccines and masking for children, and serves as a steering committee member of Black Lives Matter at School NY. Manzanares is a fellow traveler, similarly censorious and hostile to dissenting views. Both have apparently turned CEC 14 into a vehicle for their respective ideological agendas.

"Sutton and Manzanares exclude people affiliated with disfavored advocacy groups from the Council's public meetings, block critics from accessing the Council's social media pages, and impose a far-reaching political speech code on public debate," the complaint alleges. "And while New York City's Department of Education leaves Sutton and Manzanares free to impose their viewpoints on everyone else, it subjects Community Education Council and Citywide Council members who dissent from official orthodoxy to investigation and removal."

Alexander and Harlan have apparently been ousted from CEC 14 meetings "owing to their political views." Maron refrains from attending meetings because she is both a co-founder of Parent Leaders for Accelerated Curriculum and Education NYC and a member of Moms for Liberty, both of "which are evidently the prime targets of CEC 14's discriminatory exclusion policy."

"Even if they could gain admission, anything that Plaintiffs might say at CEC 14 meetings would likely be prohibited under CEC 14's speech code," adds the complaint.

The New York Post reported last year that CEC 14, under Sutton and Manzanares' lead, promoted a Nov. 9 student walkout and corresponding anti-Israel rally where kids yelled "f**k the Jews!"

At a meeting concerning the CEC 14 promotion of the protest, a concerned father questioned the radical groups CEC 14 had partnered with, including Youth for Palestine. Manzanares reportedly told him, "Redirect yourself or you will be removed."

A Jewish father expressed concerns over the safety of his children in light of the council's anti-Israel posts and accusations of "apartheid," but he too was apparently silenced and castigated.

Raving anti-Semites were, alternatively, permitted to speak their minds.

"After the CEC D14 meeting on Wednesday night, it feels clear to me: The inmates are running the asylum," Brooklyn mother Lisa Liss, who pulled her kids out of District 14, told the Post. "The unchecked, outrageous anti-Semitic abuse hurled at D14 community members can only be described as insane."

The CEC 14 Instagram page is loaded with identitarian, anti-Israel, and other leftist content.

Weeks after Hamas terrorists slaughtered thousands of Israelis and scores of Americans, the council under Sutton stated, "We condemn settler colonialism, militarized violence in furtherance of the continued occupation of Palestinians, and always condemn innocent people being murdered. We condemn any acts by the U.S. government to escalate the current situation by further militarizing Israel and we reject the statements of various leaders describing the ongoing human rights violations in Gaza as 'self defense.'"

The council further demanded a ceasefire and the "liberation of the Palestinian people."

The mothers' lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, makes clear that Sutton and Manzanares are not alone in clamping down on the elected parent leaders' rights. The New York City Department of Education, named as a defendant in the suit, apparently also bears blame for its regulation D-210, "a vague, overbroad, and viewpoint-discriminatory speech code."

D-210 has apparently been used to great effect by DOE ideologues.

For instance, Maron faces multiple D-210 investigations over private speech at odds with the favored viewpoints of the powers that be. Maron's offending speech appears to have been her condemnation of Hamas propaganda, her suggestion that the "anti-racists are so racist," and her concerns over the subjection of children to mutilating sex-change procedures.

When some of the messages under investigation were brought to Banks' attention, he allegedy threatened her position.

The suit underscores that the regulation used to clamp down on the speech of Maron and others is "unconstitutionally vague. No reasonably intelligent person can guess at what speech Defendants might find to constitute 'frequent verbal abuse' or unnecessary aggresive speech.'"

"Regulation D-210's prohibition of 'disrespect' is likewise unconstitutionally vague, as is its prohibtion of speech that is 'derogatory' or 'offensive.' These are all subjective values," continued the suit.

The enforcement of the regulation allegedly "deprive[s] Plaintiffs of the rights to free speech and due process in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendmends to the United States Constitution."

The mothers are not looking for a payday as a result of their legal action. Rather they only want nominal damages of $17.91 each. Their ultimate aim is the neutralizing of D-210 and an end to the discriminatory practices they've become familiar with in District 14.

"The First Amendment guarantees the right to criticize public officials and speak freely on matters of public concern. Yet, CEC 14 leaders have used school resources to promote their own extreme political views while excluding critics from public meetings and blocking them on social media," said Alan Gura, vice president for litigation at the Institute for Free Speech.

"Meanwhile, the DOE’s Regulation D-210 subjects elected parent leaders to inquisitorial investigations and threats of removal from office for 'wrongthink,'" continued Gura. "We're asking the court to put a stop to these unconstitutional actions and protect the free speech rights of all New Yorkers."

The New York Post indicated that CEC 14 had yet to respond to its request for comment.

"We Are Not Your Props" May Day Rally in Harlem, Parent, CEC 14 President Tajh Sutton Speaks!youtu.be

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