Preparing for a “First Amendment Audit”


A microphone lays on a table in front of a video camera

Districts should be aware of a growing trend of “First Amendment Audits” occurring in district offices and schools. During an “audit,” an individual (or group) enters a school district lobby, begins filming and then posts their interactions online. These encounters can pose challenges to staff who may not be as familiar with First Amendment law or relevant Board policies on visitors and filming. Staff must also be skilled in de-escalating conflict and knowing when to ask for reinforcement from other staff or law enforcement.

Districts are encouraged to review their Board policies on visitors (Neola 9150 and OSBA KK), as well as related policies and procedures.  Searching YouTube for videos (use search terms “First Amendment Audit” and “school district”) may also help prepare your team on what to expect. Bricker Graydon has put together a resource guide for client school districts who wish to learn more about the law and how to handle a potential “audit.” You may also wish to seek legal counsel for more targeted guidance or to make additional preparations. 

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