On August 7, 2012, the Douglas County School District (“DCSD”) ejected journalist and videographer Brian Malone from a school board meeting after he placed his camera tripod in a location that allowed him to video the face of the individuals presenting to the board – a location from which he had recorded every meeting during the prior three months. A DCSD security official demanded that Mr. Malone remove his camera, and a police officer issued a summons requiring him to face a criminal charge of “disrupting a lawful assembly.”
The DCSD security officer stated that Mr. Malone was now forbidden to enter any school district property for any purpose. The DCSD followed up with a letter confirming the prohibition, with an exception allowing Mr. Malone to enter his daughters' schools. The DCSD letter added a restriction prohibiting Mr. Malone from using any recording device on any DCSD property without prior approval, a limitation not placed on the general public or other journalists.
In a letter, ACLU lawyers demanded that DCSD immediately withdraw its directives prohibiting Mr. Malone from attending any future school board meetings. The ACLU also demanded that DCSD immediately withdraw its directive that required Mr. Malone, unlike any other member of the public or press, to receive pre-approval from DCSD before audio or video recording public meetings conducted on DCSD grounds. In less than twenty-four hours, DCSD complied with each of the ACLU’s demands.
ACLU lawyers defended Mr. Malone in the criminal case charging that he "disrupted" the school board meeting, and the charge was dismissed.
Learn more about Brian Malone and Malone Media Group.
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