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School property ban on Uvalde father lifted after planned litigation

Adam Martinez and his son Zayon, a Robb Elementary School shooting survivor, at their home in Uvalde.
Kayla Padilla
Adam Martinez and his son Zayon, a Robb Elementary School shooting survivor, at their home in Uvalde.

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The two-year ban on Uvalde parent Adam Martinez has been lifted after the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) threatened to proceed with litigation against the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (UCISD).

Martinez said that UCISD backing down before the lawsuit was filed showed that they had no real case against him.

“What I've been hearing is that if they did have a case, they wouldn't have just lifted the ban. So the fact that they lifted it shows that they were wrong,” Martinez said.

Martinez is the father of two UCISD students, one of which survived the Robb Elementary School shooting on May 24, 2022. He was banned in February after questioning a new UCISD police hire at a school board meeting. After the ban, he was only allowed to pick up his daughter from school. His son had yet to return to school in person after the shooting.

As of the ban being lifted, Martinez plans to return to school board meetings as usual. He said that if UCISD threatens his freedom of speech again, he’s prepared to proceed with the FIRE lawsuit.

“We've already got all the documents and paperwork, so I'm not worried that they're going to retaliate because they know that if they do, we can easily just file suit. I never really did anything wrong in the first place” said Martinez.

In a press release, FIRE attorney Josh Bleisch said that the school district’s administration had overstepped their authority.

“We’re glad they finally came to their senses, but it shouldn’t take the threat of a lawsuit to remind them that the Constitution does not allow them to use their power to silence their critics,” said Bleisch.

Earlier in the year, UCISD failed to meet the FIRE demand to lift the complete ban by May 22, two days before the one year commemoration of the shooting. Instead, the school district responded by saying that Martinez would be allowed to attend his nephew’s graduation.

“FIRE was ready and willing to sue to protect Mr. Martinez’s First Amendment rights,” said FIRE attorney Conor Fitzpatrick. “Thankfully, the Uvalde school district backed down and lifted its unconstitutional ban.”

The two-year ban lift gave Martinez his voice back.

“People don't realize the rights they have," he said. "So I think now people might [say], 'wow, we can stand up for what we believe in. We can fight for justice.' ”

The UCISD school board did not respond to TPR's request for comment.

Martinez said that his family was proud that the ban was lifted and grateful for the community's support.

“It took going to this level to get attorneys," he explained. "Some people are proud, some people are surprised. But there's just been a whole lot of support for sure.”

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