Octorara School Board Lawsuit: A Legal Update and Superintendent’s Debut

Octorara Area School District

ATGLEN, PA — The Octorara Area School Board meeting on July 17 was marked by an update on a federal lawsuit filed last August by John Ryan Miller. The lawsuit alleged that the district and other agencies conspired to deny Miller of his constitutional rights and that one of Octorara’s policies requiring speakers at school board meetings to provide their name and address was unconstitutional. The lawsuit was dismissed by the judge who ruled that five of the 120 claims could proceed. During the meeting, Jason Confair, the lawyer representing the school board, provided an update on the lawsuit.

Confair, who works for Saxton & Stump, said that the remaining charges against the school district could be dismissed in six to nine months. It is possible either party could appeal the judge’s decision to the Third Circuit Court. Confair also mentioned that the district’s legal costs are covered under its insurance policy and that the district could file to recover the cost of its insurance deductible should Miller lose the suit.

The judge’s ruling was based on the constitutionality of the policy requiring speakers at school board meetings to provide their name and address. The judge ruled that the policy was constitutional, and Miller filed an amended complaint. Confair is confident that the remaining charges will be dismissed and is optimistic that the lawsuit would be resolved soon.

Apart from the lawsuit update, Steven Leever, the district’s new Superintendent, had his first board meeting. The meeting was also used to discuss other issues affecting the school district.

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