Blog Post

Young Mother Sues After Being Labeled a “Terrorist”

After a New Jersey mother of two complained on Facebook about inappropriate posters detailing various kinds of sexuality being displayed at her children’s school, she was branded a “terrorist” by local police and military. She is now suing those involved for violating her right to free speech.

According to the Thomas More Society, the trouble began over a Facebook post written by Angela Reading, a third-year law student, mother of two, and member of the Northern Burlington Board of Education.

Christopher Ferrara, Thomas More Society Special Counsel, explained: “In it, she shared how she had attended an elementary school ‘math night’ the previous evening with her seven-year-old daughter, who after reading LBGT-affirming posters in the school’s entry, asked her mother what ‘polysexual’ meant. Mrs. Reading merely questioned why elementary children were being invited to research topics of sexuality, noting that it is not in the state educational standards nor the board of education approved curriculum. Mrs. Reading did not name names or schools, and invited respectful debate.”

In addition, Reading was writing as a private citizen from her personal social media account to a discussion group about New Jersey schools.

Apparently, U.S. Army Reserve Major Christopher Schilling took issue with the post and emailed parents and school officials condemning Reading and her actions. Using his official military email account, he contacted Joseph Vasquez, a U.S. Air Force civilian employee who forwarded Reading’s post to the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, as well as the New Jersey State Police. It was Vasquez’s hope that they would get an Incident Detection and Response sent to schools and police departments, “meaning there would be a widespread law enforcement ‘threat’ alert regarding Reading based solely on her clearly protected speech,” the Society writes.

“This intention to trigger a preposterous widespread law enforcement investigation and state of alarm over Mrs. Reading’s protected speech as if it were an ‘incident’ of potential, or even actual criminality, is a violation of Mrs. Reading’s civil rights,” Ferrara related.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, describes how the smear campaign snowballed with various members of the military, law enforcement and the Township abusing their power to not only censor Reading’s speech, but to whip up public fury specifically directed against Reading.

As a result of this campaign, the Readings have been “demonized, harassed, traumatized, and excoriated throughout the community, forced to resign their school board positions, and having been made unwelcome, now feel they must seek costly alternative education for their children. All of this is a direct result of a conspiracy to punish a mother who did not welcome a public school’s attempt to force a woke ideology upon her own, and other, young children—and to have the audacity to exercise her right of free speech to do so in a peaceful manner in an appropriate forum.”

As the complaint concludes: “The defendants acted singularly and in conspiracy with one another to deprive and chill the exercise of Mrs. Reading’s rights, including rights protected by the United States and New Jersey constitutions, as well as other laws.”

Let us keep this brave mother and her family in our prayers!

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