The ACLU of Pennsylvania has stepped in on behalf of Aaron Brant, an 18 year old Rochester High School student who serves as the Senior Class President, Editor of the school newspaper and… a candidate running for a seat on the Rochester School Board.
In a March 25th letter addressed to Rochester Superintendent Carolyn Wilkovich and Principal David Vezendy, the ACLU stated it was contacted by Brant “after he was threatened with discipline by school officials for passing out business cards and talking to other students about his campaign to become a member of the Rochester School Board.”
The ACLU asserted Brant has a First Amendment right to discuss his campaign and hand out literature in school. The letter went on to say if “any further actions are threatened or are, in fact, carried out against Aaron Brant in retaliation for his expressive activity” the organization will “seek relief in federal court” on Brant’s behalf.
In response to the ACLU’s letter, Rochester’s school solicitor stated the district will recognize Brant’s right to distribute campaign literature and to speak about his campaign in school outside of class time (in between classes, at lunchtime, and before or after school).
Since announcing his candidacy for a seat on its school board, Brant has been an outspoken critic of the district’s superintendent, frequently referring to her as “an embarrassment.”