Reuben Lack still won't be Alpharetta High's student body president when Spring Break is over in another week. A federal judge ruled on March 30 against a motion for a temporary order to reinstate him to the position he lost earlier this year.
U.S. District Judge Richard W. Story ruled against him, but his attorney, James Radford, said that was just the first step in the lawsuit seeking temporary relief. He and his client plan to continue with the lawsuit.
Lack's suit claims his First Amendment rights were violated by his removal, citing reasons he was given by his faculty advisors.
Judge Story found Lack's Facebook post saying Principal Shannon Kersey shot down a proposal was protected, as was a speech to incoming freshmen that asked them to get involved in student activities, including the debate club he captained.
"Lack has shown that Defendants were subjectively motivated to take the adverse action because of Plaintiff’s protected speech," the Judge said in his ruling.
Judge Story also wrote in his ruling, "The Court also finds that Plaintiff’s speech was a motivating factor in Defendants’ decision to remove him as President."
But Judge Story also noted that the school said that Lack did not attend Homecoming Decoration day, wear spirit-week attire or sell Homecoming tickets even though he sent email reminding other Student Council members of their duty to do so,and he had agreed to complete those tasks.
He also continued to schedule council meetings in the afternoon even after being told they would be held in the morning before school so student-athlete members could attend.
"Essentially, the Court finds that Plaintiff is a bright student who is “aggressively” engaged in his causes–as his counsel pointed out at the hearing–but he did not show respect or civility to his faculty advisors or complete traditional Student Council “spirit” tasks, which, under the bylaws, he had an obligation to help carry out, regardless of his interest level," Judge Story said in his ruling rejecting the temporary restraining order.