ACLU takes issue with Shawnee Mission statement on law suit: ‘Our clients aren’t motivated by monetary damages’

Student protestors at SM North the afternoon of National School Walkout day.

The ACLU of Kansas has responded to the Shawnee Mission School District’s statement regarding the lawsuit alleging district officials violated students’ 1st Amendment rights with a new statement that takes issue with the district’s focus on monetary damages sought by the plaintiffs.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court Thursday, seeks a number of forms of relief primarily focused on the district acknowledging that students’ rights were violated and requiring the district to train staff on 1st Amendment issues. The suit also calls for the district to be made liable for monetary damages and legal fees.

Those proposed remedies were highlighted in the opening line of the statement issued by the district about the suit Thursday afternoon.

In a new release put out Friday morning, the ACLU of Kansas says money is not at the heart of the suit — acknowledgement of missteps is:

The ACLU of Kansas filed its lawsuit yesterday against the Shawnee Mission School District to secure students’ first amendment rights.

The district has yet to concede it did anything unlawful. Further, the interim superintendent has made clear that resolving the central issue – the violation of students’ rights – isn’t an immediate priority.

Our clients aren’t motivated by monetary damages, as the district’s statement suggested. Our clients are motivated by the protection of their first amendment rights.

Had the district acknowledged its mistake initially, there wouldn’t be a lawsuit.