A New Jersey mother claims she was “treated like a terrorist” after raising questions about the teaching of sexuality at her daughter’s primary school.
Angela Reading is suing nine individuals for violating her civil rights and vilifying her in a concerted smear campaign.
The defendants include the North Hanover police chief, the school district superintendent and seven mostly senior military personnel from the nearby US Air Force base.
Mrs. Reading who was a third-year law student and a regional school board member at the time posted a lengthy comment to a social media discussion group about New Jersey schools after seeing children’s artworks in the school hallway which were apparently part of an assignment on sexuality.
She questioned why young children were being invited to research topics on sexuality when that was not in the state educational standards nor the Board of Education approved curriculum.
She did not name names or schools, and invited respectful debate.
Her lawyers from the Thomas More Society claimed that what followed was outright censorship of her post followed by a dedicated smear campaign led by a US Army Reserve Major who emailed parents and school officials condemning Mrs. Reading and her actions. That email was then forwarded to Homeland Security and other law enforcement and security agencies.
Angela Reading told CBN News: “I had a response from the United States military and our local police force that labeled me as a security threat, pretty much coerced my social media post to come down, and then reported me to local, federal and stage agencies as essentially a terrorist.”
“My entire life has been uprooted. I had to stop going to law school, not take my exams, which plummeted my GPA. I had to pull my kids from school for their safely. I was forced to resign from the school board for their safety. I was supposed to be working for a law firm, representing school boards.”
“There are damages far outreaching that which will follow me throughout my entire life. I don’t even feel comfortable and safe going out in my community after the way that they portrayed me. I’ve lost friends that don’t talk to me who actually believed the things that were being said.”
Her 62-page lawsuit details how the situation snowballed as members of the military, law enforcement and the school abused the power of their offices to not only censor Mrs. Reading’s speech but also create a public fury specifically directed against her.
“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,” the complaint concludes.
Thomas More Society Special Counsel Christopher Ferrara explained that the Readings have been “demonised, harassed, traumatised, 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,” Mr. Ferrara added.
Mrs. Reading said the lawsuit was “a critical step towards seeking justice for the irreversible damage inflicted upon my personal life, professional reputation, and capacity to meaningfully contribute and serve my community.”
A petition in support of Mrs. Reading on change.org says she has the support of the Jewish communities from New Jersey to Pennsylvania.
Her attorneys have asked for a trial by jury.