School District Seeks Gag Order to Limit Media Access in Pregnancy Test Case
Nevada City, CA – A school district in Northern California has become so alarmed by media interest in a right to privacy lawsuit it is defending that it is now asking the court to order opposing attorneys not to talk to the media about the case.
The lawsuit is being brought on behalf of a 12-year-old student in Nevada City who was allegedly pulled out of class and forced to take a pregnancy test by a school counselor, without her parents’ knowledge or consent.
Following a hearing that was open to the public, the minor’s attorney, Matthew McReynolds of Pacific Justice Institute, responded to questions from a local newspaper reporter who was present, explaining the proceedings and informing her that a recent deposition of another student had confirmed his client’s story. The school district, not liking the ensuing story, is now claiming it cannot get a fair trial unless the court prevents PJI attorneys from talking to the media. The hearing will be held this coming Friday, December 18, at 2:00 p.m. in Dept. 4 of the Nevada County Superior Court in Nevada City.
PJI attorney Matthew McReynolds commented on the upcoming hearing, “It is ironic that a school district accused of violating a student’s privacy rights is now taking extraordinary steps to shield itself from negative publicity. Our nation has a long and important tradition of full media access to court proceedings, and attorneys have strong First Amendment rights to respond to press inquiries on behalf of their clients.”
Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, stated, “Free speech and freedom of the press are too important to be subjected to the whims of a governmental entity seeking to avoid public scrutiny. In advancing the cause of religious and civil rights, we have certainly experienced all types of media coverage over the years.. Regardless of whether we like or dislike a particular news article, the public is not served by cloaking legal proceedings in a veil of silence, particularly in a civil case.”