BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation announced that it is supporting and funding an Illinois High School student’s civil rights lawsuit against her local school district and three school officials for discrimination under color of law.
Madison Oster, 16, and her father, Jeremy, are plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the Hononegah Community High School District 207, Supt. Michael J. Dugan, Executive Associate Principal Chad Dougherty and Principal Eric Flohr. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Western Division. Plaintiffs are represented by Glen Ellyn attorney David Sigale.
The lawsuit alleges that on March 14, Madison and a few other students wanted to express pro-Second Amendment school safety messages during a planned “walkout” by other students calling for gun control measures in response to the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Madison’s small group was separated from the walkout, which was held on the football field, “out of everyone else’s sight or hearing.”
The complaint says Dougherty would not allow the pro-gun rights students onto the football field, requiring them instead to stand with their signs on a sidewalk, outside the football field and separated from it by part of the parking lot. “When Madison asked Dougherty why her group was not allowed on the field with everyone else, he suggested that they would disturb the peace and start a fight,” the complaint asserts.
Also, the lawsuit alleges that Flohr called Madison and her group “troublemakers.” After the walkout, the Dougherty allegedly “subjected Madison’s group to the taunts of their classmates by holding them aside while all of the other students walked past them into the building. One student yelled at Madison to kill herself. Another student took pictures of Madison’s group, one of which reportedly became an online meme and method of ridicule among the other HCHS students.”
“Social prejudice is wrong, no matter who is practicing or enabling it,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “It is unconscionable for school officials to allow this sort of thing, much less enable it. That’s why we’re supporting Madison and her father. Students with different viewpoints retain their free speech rights. When school officials allow those students to be harassed and bullied, something must be done. And we’re just the ones to do it.
“First Amendment rights are just as important as Second Amendment rights,” he said, “especially when being used to protect those Second Amendment rights.”