Silenced & Censored:

Tennessee Schools Muzzle Dissent TO BEGIN New School Year
Chase Matheson - august 7, 2023
STATE OF TENNESSEE-- In a stark betrayal of American values and principles of transparency, Tennessee schools have commenced the new academic year with an appalling display of systemic censorship on their social media platforms. These tactics, more reminiscent of authoritarian regimes than educational institutions, have raised serious concerns about the moral integrity of those in charge, and what exactly they may be hiding.

Several Tennessee school districts, including Coffee County, Tullahoma, Putnam County, and Sumner County, have been caught red-handed in this disturbing act of stifling dissent. Employing tactics such as hiding and deleting comments on their social media pages, they are attempting to strangle free speech and shape public discourse to fit their narrative. What's worse, their attorneys are endorsing it.

Coffee County Schools, instead of embracing open conversation, has clandestinely chosen to "hide" virtually all comments. When a page owner "hides" your comment, the comment is only visible to you and your Facebook friends. Anyone who is not connected with you on the platform will be unable to view your statements. Coffee County does allow some "tags" to sneak through, but only if they are made by someone they have not already singled out for censorship (like myself).
When this issue was raised with Director Lawson he explained "As a pragmatic individual, I have never engaged in something as frivolous as social media." If something is so frivolous, then why do you feel the need to unlawfully silence citizens?

Lawson also quoted School Board Attorney and Bona Fide Swamp Creature Chuck Cagle for his opinion. Lawson told us, "Mr. Cagle informed me that our district website and social media accounts are not open forums.

Chuck Cagle is with the law firm Lewis Thomason, the firm that threatened me with litigation over the publication of my "Shit Birds" story earlier this year. Cagle was also a registered Lobbyist and it has been publicly stated that at one time or another he represented TOSS (Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents), AIMS (The Association of Independent and Municipal Schools), SCORE (State Collaborative on Reform of Education) and Pearson Education (the education publishing company). A search of Tennessee Ethics Commission website revealed no current Lobbying registrations, but did show Cagle was registered as recently as last year. 

In a gross misuse of social media's potential to promote free dialogue, they've turned it into a private echo chamber, insulated from critical or contrary views--but this is only the beginning. Some districts have gone even further. 
1 of the email responses the patriot punk network received from dr lawson
Tullahoma City Schools has decided to hide EVERY comment. This means that you will never be able to see anyone's comments other than those from people you are already connected with. I want you to imagine being an Airman with the local Air Force Base who just moved to Tullahoma. How much opportunity does this person have to participate in these forums? 

It's unlikely that a court would agree that "hiding" every comment is some how the "narrowly-tailored" restriction that "promotes a significant government interest" as 
case law requires. The court would almost certainly demand that they either close off comments, or leave them open. But Tullahoma wants to have their cake and eat it, too. That's why they are already dealing with federal litigation over free speech incursions. Maybe they are hoping for another.
Screenshot from tullahoma school's facebook page
But the censorship doesn't stop there. In Putnam County and Sumner County, schools have resorted to more draconian measures. The administrators, acting more like censors than educators, are blatantly deleting comments and completely disabling comment sections, obliterating any vestige of opposing viewpoints.

Sumner County, in a particularly bold and alarming move, has imposed new "Terms of Service" that clearly violate the fundamental principles of free speech, as well as several other well established legal principles.  These terms include content-based restrictions on speech, provide no due process, and audaciously attempt to claim exclusive jurisdiction to prevent grievances from reaching the Federal Court. Even better, they've included a clause on "Liability Limitations" that reads:
     "By accessing SCS's social media sites, you agree that in no event or circumstance shall SCS be liable for any damages that arise out of your use of the SCS's social media sites." 

This is not mere censorship; it is a concerted effort by school officials to fortify their power, silence criticism, and cover up potential flaws within their ranks. This behavior serves as an unscrupulous PR arm of the "chosen sperm," protecting their preferred narratives and positions at the cost of open dialogue and democratic values. (STORY CONTINUES BELOW)
In response to these un-American tactics, it's time for the community to rise up and challenge these oppressive measures. Victims of this censorship are urged to fight back, to litigate, and to demand civil cash penalties as a means to deter future transgressions. Unfortunately, the prospect of hiring an attorney to combat these injustices is currently financially unfeasible for many. This not only chills the victims' zeal to fight but also emboldens the transgressors, who perceive this as a license to continue their unfair practices. 

The education authorities of Tennessee need to address these oppressive practices urgently. Policies around content moderation must be thoroughly reviewed, and blatant abuses of power, such as those in Sumner County, must be rectified immediately. Transparency and free dialogue must be reinstated, and those who have violated these principles held accountable. 

As we usher in the new academic year, let's remember that schools are supposed to be bastions of free speech and open discussion, not platforms for silencing dissent and fostering propaganda. The Tennessee schools must face these issues head-on to protect the American principles they are entrusted with nurturing in their students and the wider community.
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