Exeter HS Student Still Fighting One Year Later for Free Speech

When you think of Cornerstone and the work we do, what likely comes to mind are our efforts to educate the citizens of New Hampshire on our government and key legislation as well as our advocacy for legislation and legislators. But that just touches the surface. Cornerstone is a legal advocacy group, and we are leaning into that work as never before, in no small part due to the work of the staff addition of our General Counsel & Director of Policy. Since Ian Huyett joined us in 2020, we’ve repeatedly represented churches or groups of churches, as their legal counsel, on constitutional issues and gotten positive outcomes every time.

Last fall, we learned of a high school student who had been disciplined as a result of his off-campus texts with another student where he stated his opinion on gender. Seeing this action by the school as a clear infringement on the student’s freedom of speech and religion as well as an overreach of their authority, we made the decision to represent the family in their legal fight to challenge the school’s actions. The case has attracted national and international attention and carries potential impact far beyond our state.  

We are now nearing the one-year anniversary of the day we filed the lawsuit in Rockingham County. Despite the concerted efforts of the school, their deep pockets, robust legal representation, and the attempted involvement of other parties, we are still standing. But it has been highly involved, involving numerous legal motions, counter-motions, and multiple depositions. It is a true David and Goliath situation. On our side, one extremely capable attorney with limited assistance; on theirs, a noted law firm, seemingly inexhaustible taxpayer dollars, and multiple attempts to throw out the case.

But, so far, we have prevailed. Having defeated the school’s attempt to declare a summary judgment in their attempt to avoid trial, we are about to argue against their motion to dismiss the suit. After nearly a year, we are ever closer to having our day in court. It has been a long but worthwhile road to take. Our core mission is dedicated to ensuring a New Hampshire where God is honored, families can thrive, and life is cherished. And with our freedoms under assault on multiple fronts, this will not be the first time we step up to defend citizens and their constitutionally guaranteed rights.

Image: EHS Entrance by Austin Blake Grant CC BY-SA 3.0

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