Frequently Searched

School’s Outrageous Actions Spur Dad to Supreme Court Appeal

April 3, 2024

Boston-area dad Scott Pitta wanted to get his public school district on the record after it tried to arbitrarily remove critically important services from his 17-year-old son J.J., who has special needs. Now he’s turning to the Goldwater Institute and the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold his rights.

It all started when the Bridgewater-Raynham Regional School District in Massachusetts unilaterally terminated a Google Meet video conference about the Pittas’ son after Scott indicated he was recording the meeting. That’s a violation of the Pittas’ First Amendment right to record government officials.

Scott is now suing the district in federal court, and today on Scott’s behalf, the Goldwater Institute urged the U.S. Supreme Court to take up his case.

Watch the Pitta family’s story in this new Goldwater Institute video.

“I don’t understand why the school district is so opposed to an accurate record of what they say,” Scott says in the video, describing a years-long “fight with the school district for the services our child needs.”

J.J.’s individualized education program, or IEP, details the special services he needs to receive to achieve his goals of going to college and becoming a veterinarian. But in early 2022, district officials attempted to take those services away from J.J.—only to acknowledge in a pair of virtual meetings with J.J.’s parents that they had no good reason to do so. What’s more, officials admitted that teachers whose evaluation concluded that J.J. needed special education services were asked to “double-check” their evaluation but those whose first evaluation concluded that he did not require services were not asked to “double-check.”

But the school omitted these statements from the official meeting minutes. And when Scott objected and requested the school amend the minutes, officials flatly refused.

Not trusting school officials to preserve accurate minutes, Scott made clear during his next meeting with officials in September 2022 that he was recording on video. Rather than let a parent create an accurate record of a meeting about his child, officials simply terminated the meeting.

“Refusing to allow parents to record a meeting with government officials about their own child in their own home violates the First Amendment,” says Goldwater Staff Attorney Adam Shelton, lead attorney on this case. “Parents have a fundamental right under the Constitution to control and direct their children’s education, but more than that, they have a high duty and a responsibility to ensure their children receive an adequate education.”

District officials interfered with right—and they violated the First Amendment to do it. They’re not the only ones. Public schools across the country are similarly infringing on parents’ rights as they seek to usurp parents’ role in raising their kids—but Goldwater is leading the nation in helping moms and dads fight back. Goldwater’s landmark Academic Transparency law shines a light on what’s really happening in public school districts by requiring them to post their learning materials online, the Institute’s Ask Your School Now tool empowers parents to file effective public records requests when the government still tries keeping secrets, and Goldwater’s American Freedom Network of pro bono attorneys stands ready to help parents fight for their rights in court.

In courtrooms and capitol buildings nationwide, Goldwater is empowering parents to make decisions that best meet their kids’ needs.

Read our brief here, and learn more about the case here.



More on this issue

Donate Now

Help all Americans live freer, happier lives. Join the Goldwater Institute as we defend and strengthen freedom in all 50 states.

Donate Now

Since 1988, the Goldwater Institute has been in the liberty business — defending and promoting freedom, and achieving more than 400 victories in all 50 states. Donate today to help support our mission.

We Protect Your Rights

Our attorneys defend individual rights and protect those who cannot protect themselves.

Need Help? Submit a case.

Get Connected to Goldwater

Sign up for the latest news, event updates, and more.