Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa
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Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

January 23, 2019 ‘If they had just let me talk …’
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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ARTICLE DESCRIPTION:

Abby Sojka wanted to be heard.

She saw things in the Highland Community School District she did not think were right. She felt her autistic daughter, Sophie, was not receiving the education she is guaranteed under federal law. The plan for providing her daughter’s education was not being followed.

On top of that, she learned a teacher was taking an opioid at school.

Sojka went to the district administration. When she thought her concerns were not being addressed, she went to the school board.

She was told because her issues involved negative comments about school employees, she could not speak to the school board. The decision to not let her speak to the school board led to a lawsuit alleging Sojka’s First Amendment rights were violated.

In October 2018, the school board settled the lawsuit with a $150,000 payment and an apology to Sojka. In the settlement, the district did not admit guilt.

“The Highland Community school board acknowledges that it likely violated Abigail Sojka’s First Amendment rights through board policies,” board President Nate Robinson read at the Nov. 12 meeting. “This occurred by the board’s refusal to allow comments about personnel matters during board meetings over the last four years.”

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