Judge rules school board violated freedom of speech

Cambria County, Pa. - A Cambria County judge ruled in favor of two men who filed a lawsuit against the Greater Johnstown School Board, claiming their freedom of speech rights were violated during two meetings.

The plaintiffs claimed the former school board president, Richard Unger, infringed on their freedom of speech rights when he cut them off during the public comment period during two separate school board meetings in March and November of 2016.

The school district argued the former president was justified because the men's comments were disruptive. However, the judge said the men were not being argumentative.

"We had to fight for this, pay the legal fees. What we got out of it was satisfaction, but my question is: what's going to change?" said John DeBartola, one of the men who filed the lawsuit.

The school district has 30 days to pay $197 back to the plaintiffs for court filing fees.

The district is not required to submit a written apology.

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