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Max Plowman

Max Plowman


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Mark Plowman, the son of a brickworks owner, was born on 1st September 1883 at Northumberland Park, Tottenham. His parents were members of the Plymouth Brethren sect. Educated at Paradise House School he left at the age of sixteen to go into his father's business.

In 1909 Plowman left the security of the family business in order to become a writer. He also abandoned his religious faith and declared that he was a socialist. Plowman married Dorothy Lloyd Sulman on 1st May 1914.

On the outbreak of the First World War he joined the British Army. Initially he was an orderly with the 4th field ambulance at its Essex headquarters but decided to transfer to a fighting regiment. He explained his decision in a letter to Hugh de Selincourt: "Who am I that I should say to another man - You do my killing? … One either believes in active resistance or non resistance. If I lived in an ideal world I should believe in non resistance & to make that dream reality I shall always throw in my tiny weight. That's my direction."

Plowman joined the 10th Yorkshire Regiment and by the summer of 1916 was serving on the Western Front. Within a few months of being on the front-line he was having severe doubts about the morality of war. In October 1916 he wrote: "I want to exploit the fear of war… I want to start an International League of individuals sworn never to take up arms … And so I'm here in mud & blood & all the damned insanity of war & I wouldn't be out of it, things being as they are."

In January 1917 Plowman was concussed by a shell-burst and invalided home. He was treated by Professor William Rivers at Craiglockhart War Hospital near Edinburgh. Like the writer Siegfried Sassoon, he became a pacifist while suffering from shellshock. He wrote: "the Army has had all the useful service it will ever get out of me… I'm too tired of it - too entirely soul sick of it."

During this period, before he was transferred to the reserves, he wrote his pamphlet The Right to Live, On 14 January 1918 he submitted the resignation of his commission on grounds of conscience. He argued that his hatred of war "has gradually deepened into the fixed conviction that organised warfare of any kind is always organised murder." He added: "So wholly do I believe in the doctrine of Incarnation (that God indeed lives in every human body) that I believe that killing men is always killing God."

As Martin Ceadel, the author of Pacifism in Britain 1914-1945 (1980) pointed out: "He was fortunate not only to escape with a simple dismissal from the army, but also, because of delays in the conscription procedure (to which he was now liable as a discharged volunteer), to avoid prison as an absolutist." In 1919 he explained his actions in War and the Creative Impulse which according to Caedel "defined the classic socialist pacifism which he unwaveringly asserted for the rest of his life." In this respect he shared the views of Clifford Allen and Fenner Brockway.

Max Plowman became active in the pacifist movement and in 1927 he published an account of his experiences on the Western Front entitled A Subaltern on the Somme. He was also an expert on the works of William Blake and later that year published An Introduction to the Study of Blake.

In 1929 Plowman met John Middleton Murry, who introduced him to Richard Rees, the editor of The Adelphi. The three men were all socialist pacifists. According to Richard A. Storey: "Plowman first met the writer and critic John Middleton Murry early in 1929 and the remaining years of his life were marked by a growing friendship and debate with Murry and an active, though still highly critical, involvement in pacifist affairs as the world situation deteriorated."

On 16th October 1934, Richard Sheppard, a canon of St. Paul's Cathedral, had a letter published in the Manchester Guardian inviting people to send him a postcard giving their undertaking to "renounce war and never again to support another." Within two days 2,500 men responded and over the next few weeks around 30,000 pledged their support for Sheppard's campaign. The following year Sheppard formed the Peace Pledge Union. Plowman became a strong supporter of the PPU. Other members included George Lansbury, Vera Brittain, Arthur Ponsonby, Wilfred Wellock, Maude Royden, John Middleton Murry, Siegfried Sassoon, Donald Soper, Aldous Huxley, Laurence Housman and Bertrand Russell. When Sheppard died in 1937 Plowman became the new general secretary of the PPU.

In 1934 John Middleton Murry purchased a farm in Langham, Essex. Murry and Plowman established a pacifist community centre they called Adelphi Centre on the land. Murry argued he was attempting to create "a community for the study and practice of the new socialism". Plowman organised summer schools where people such as George Orwell, John Strachey, Jack Common, Herbert Read and Reinhold Niebuhr lectured on politics, philosophy and literature. During the Spanish Civil War the farm was handed over to the Peace Pledge Union. They used it to house some 60 Basque refugee children.

Plowman continued to work for The Adelphi. When Richard Rees resigned as editor John Middleton Murry resumed editorship until 1938, when Plowman took on the role. Richard A. Storey has argued: "Although he lacked the benefit of a university education, Plowman's passionate commitment to literature, which achieved scholarly status in his work on Blake and with which his pacifist philosophy was closely connected, provided both his raison d'être and the livelihood for himself and his family." During this period he became a close friend of George Orwell who reviewed books for the journal.

On the outbreak of the Second World War the Adelphi Centre became home for some twenty elderly evacuees from from Bermondsey, Bow and Bethnal Green. It was also a co-operative farm of 70 acres with a group of young conscientious objectors.

Mark Plowman died on 3rd June, 1941 and is buried in Langham churchyard.

I want to exploit the fear of war… I want to start an International League of individuals sworn never to take up arms… And so I'm here in mud & blood & all the damned insanity of war & I wouldn't be out of it, things being as they are.

Although the circumstances of Max Plowman's protest were remarkably similar - like Sassoon he was a wounded poet who was briefly treated by Professor Rivers and who ultimately escaped military punishment - his objection to war was, in contrast, based on a profound and unshakeable pacifism. Even before the war Plowman had taken risks for his convictions, leaving his father's brick factory to eke out a precarious living as a writer. And, as a socialist, he had always had doubts about the war: he did not volunteer until December 1914, and then only for ambulance work. The first sign that his views on war were being clarified' was his decision in July 1915 that there was no difference in principle between combatant and non-combatant service. At first he decided to fight and was commissioned into an infantry regiment, reaching the front in August 1916. In January 1917, however, he was concussed and invalided home, never to return to the trenches. It was during his sick leave that he gradually discovered he was a pacifist; and it was under the influence of Tagore's Nationalism that, in January 1918, after a year away from the front, he took the step of resigning his commission on the ground that his hatred of war "has gradually deepened into the fixed conviction that organised warfare of any kind is always organised murder."

Although similar in most respects to the Christian socialism of, for example, Wilfred Wellock, it was clearly "political" in that it was inspired not by any appeal to supernatural authority but by a mystical, almost anarchist, conception of socialism which Plowman had long admired in his literary hero, William Blake.

I grow more and more grateful to you everytime we meet in conference. I think you can hardly over-estimate the value of your contribution to the general deliberations - so few people can take the political measure of events today, and I find your conclusions so conclusive. Your little survey - over the fire on Sunday night - was a real gift to clear thinking - especially to the younger generation who know comparatively little of the historical background. And, if I may say so I do appreciate enormously the modesty with which you habitually present a case... It was yourself and Henry Carter who made the conference the success I felt it to be.


Max Plowman

Mark Plowman, generally known as Max Plowman, (1 September 1883 – 3 June 1941) was a British writer and pacifist.

Life to 1918 He was born in Northumberland Park, Tottenham, Middlesex. He left school at 16, and worked for a decade in his father's brick business. He became a journalist and poet. In 1914 he married Dorothy Lloyd Sulman.

From the beginning of the First World War Plowman felt morally opposed to the fighting – "insane and unmitigated filth" – but on Christmas Eve 1914 he reluctantly volunteered for enlistment in the Territorial Army, Royal Army Medical Corps, 4th Field Ambulance. He later accepted a commission in the 10th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment, and serving at Albert, close to the Somme.
Read Full Biography


Base salary higher than DiPietro, Davenport

In addition to an annual base salary of $600,000, Plowman will also receive a housing allowance of approximately $1,667 before taxes per month, or about $20,000 per year.

She will also receive a one-time moving allowance of $35,000 before taxes "to be used for relocation and travel expenses" from Nebraska.

Donde Plowman, one of four candidates for the chancellor position at the University of Tennessee, during an open forum at the Student Union auditorium on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Plowman is the current executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. (Photo: Saul Young/News Sentinel)

Plowman's base salary is more than former UT System President Joe DiPietro's: his base salary was $565,962 last year. He was also eligible for an annual 5% increase, depending upon his job performance.


Tag: Max Plowman

Arnold J. Toynbee? Max Plowman? H. A. L. Fisher? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: The famous historian Arnold J. Toynbee wrote a monumental 12-volume work titled “A Study of History” in which he delineated the trajectories of several major human civilizations. Surprisingly, a comically depreciatory definition of history is attributed to him. Here are two versions:

History is just one damn fact after another.
History is just one damned thing after another.

This thought seems out of character for Toynbee. Would you please explore this topic?

Quote Investigator: QI believes that this statement about the contingency of history was built upon an earlier expression which emerged circa 1909:

Life is just one damned thing after another.

The Quote Investigator website article tracing the above saying is available here. This entry will concentrate on tracing the evolution of the variant remark about history.

In 1932 a journal called “The Adelphi” published “Keyserling’s Challenge” by Max Plowman who was very unhappy with treatises that emphasized the naïve collection and reiteration of miscellaneous facts. Boldface has been added to excerpts: 1

So, like savages before their gods, they worship facts. And in return, the facts hit them like hailstones. Life is just one damned fact after another. They turn to collecting facts—laying them down—making “Outlines” of every real and fancied fact in the universe, until “truth” becomes an endless succession of stepping-stones that have a way of disappearing into the bog as soon as they are passed over. . .

Plowman was critical of the saying in boldface. He asserted the primacy of elements that were non-material and not easily reducible to simple facts such as community, emotion, and beauty. This instance of the saying did not employ the word “history” hence, it did not completely match the expression under examination.


The information we provided is prepared by means of a special computer program. Use the criteria sheet to understand greatest poems or improve your poetry analysis essay.

  • Rhyme scheme:
  • Stanza lengths (in strings):
  • Closest metre:
  • Сlosest rhyme:
  • Сlosest stanza type:
  • Guessed form:
  • Metre:
  • Amount of stanzas: 7
  • Average number of symbols per stanza: 245
  • Average number of words per stanza: 48
  • Amount of lines: 48
  • Average number of symbols per line: 35 (medium-length strings)
  • Average number of words per line: 7

The punctuation marks are various. Neither mark predominates.

The author used lexical repetitions to emphasize a significant image and, in are repeated.

The poet used anaphora at the beginnings of some neighboring lines. The same word and is repeated.

The author used the same word 'young at the beginnings of some neighboring stanzas. The figure of speech is a kind of anaphora.

There is a poetic device epiphora at the end of some neighboring lines ' is repeated).

The poet repeated the same word ' at the end of some neighboring stanzas. The poetic device is a kind of epiphora.

If you write a school or university poetry essay, you should Include in your explanation of the poem:

  • summary of When It's Over
  • central theme
  • idea of the verse
  • history of its creation
  • critical appreciation.

Good luck in your poetry interpretation practice!

Pay attention: the program cannot take into account all the numerous nuances of poetic technique while analyzing. We make no warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability and suitability with respect to the information.


The Body of Isaac Rosenberg the Fall of the Virgin of Albert Max Plowman’s Reason and Honor

Isaac Rosenberg was killed on April 1st during a wiring patrol in front of a new line of British trenches outside Arras. His body wasn’t recovered for some days, delaying the official confirmation of his death. So it was only today, a century back–after the forms were filled out and the telegram sent–that his family in London learned that he was dead. (Which means that there were no comrades in his new unit, or officers, who had the wherewithal to write to them in advance of the telegram.) His body, belatedly reclaimed, has already been hastily re-interred with those of several of his comrades.

Like several other war poets, Rosenberg’s legacy will teeter on the brink of oblivion before it is rescued by the determined efforts of those who loved him and esteemed his work. The poets and patrons who befriended him will help, as will several survivors–writers we know–who will belatedly recognize in the scarcely-published poet a peer (or a master). But it is Isaac’s sister Annie, overcome with grief, now, a century back, who will soon begin the struggle to honor her brother’s memory, and drive it forward until his place as an important war poet was secure. As for his remains, they will be reburied after the war in an individual grave, one of six belonging to soldiers of the King’s Own Royal Regiment killed that night–but which of the six was once Isaac Rosenberg is unknown. [1]

Flesh, and stone: the same day that Rosenberg’s death came home to his family, the virgin finally came down in Albert. One Captain Moody of the 2nd Royal Welch Fusiliers was there:

I saw a direct hit on the already damaged tower of the Cathedral, which brought the leaning Madonna crashing to the ground. It happened about 4 in the afternoon. The incident caused a certain amount of gloom among those who thought there might be something in the saying that when the Madonna fell the War would end soon in the defeat of the people who perpetrated the deed. . . . One of our six-inchers did it… [2]

If the shot was intentional it was probably meant to deny the Germans the use of the tower as an observation post. So much–so much!–for myth and for metaphor.

If there is something affecting–some contrast, some hint of a larger shape of meaning–that might be made of these two bits of history, I’m afraid that Max Plowman‘s letter will frustrate any hope of achieving it. It’s 1918 the virgin is down, another powerful young poet is dead and lost… and another grave young writer (Plowman’s memoir is very good, his poetry less so) has reasoned himself out of the war.

Plowman would speak for a principled hatred of the war, for some hope of a better future in which the world rises above nationalism and religion and outlaws war because it is wrong. (He is not, like so many of the other pacifists, primarily motivated by his Christianity.) And so it might be tempting to place some hope here, in reason (with all the usual attending historical irony of knowing just how badly the hopes for a new international order will work out over the next quarter century) rather than traditional faith: the one great Jewish English poet of the war–who had just begun to mull over Jewish history in his work–lies in a mass grave, and the great symbol of Christian love and mercy lies smashed at the foot of a ruined church tower in a devastated town.

We should, or we should try: Plowman is a serious man. If we were really to succeed in the project of imagining history in the moment, then there should be hopeful possibilities for the future. And yet I can’t get past this letter’s heading without thinking of Wodehouse. Then there’s the high probability of Plowman’s second sentence being correct combined with the sad unlikelihood of the third sentence ever coming to be make… which would have made it hard to hope that, even a century back, we might have held out any real hope for popular pacifism. It’s a bitter joke.

Dear Auntie Adelaide,

Thank you very much for your letter. I think it is very kind of anyone to have the least sympathy with my position because obviously we don’t want the Germans to rule over us & if large numbers of men in my circumstances took the same course as I am taking, very possibly that might happen. On the other hand if everybody did as I am doing I expect that you would not object. From which I think we may deduce the moral that everybody is morally responsible for his or her own actions & that if we met so “ruthless” a “foe” as the devil himself we should not do well do well to transforms ourselves into his likeness even for the laudable motive of wishing to destroy him or save others from his power…

…I think very strongly there are two honorable places for a man of military age just now. One is the trenches & the other is prison… as Thoreau (the American writer of 70 years ago) said, “under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.” I think large numbers of honourable & right-minded men are now in prison simply for being honourable & right-minded & if the state locks them up I should certainly feel honored to be among them…

As to prison itself being a disgrace almost everybody in history I have any respect for went to prison at some time in his life. Job, David, Jesus, all the apostles, Socrates, Galileo, Bruno…

The list goes on. [3] Perhaps it will distract Auntie Adelaide from pestering young Bertie, for the time being. Plowman’s letter does, I suppose, what it set out to do: to show why feels he must act as he does, without denying that it cannot be a viable way to end the war, or any help in salving the consciences (or saving the lives) of those honourable & right-minded men who have come to different conclusions, or who agree, but feel themselves unable to take such a stand.

I’d rather be in prison than be Prime Minister of England either today or tomorrow…

Again thanking you, with love from your affectionate nephew

Max. [4]


Plowman History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Plowman was first found in Westmorland, where the Plowman family was anciently seated as Lords of the Manor. The Saxon influence of English history diminished after the Battle of Hastings in 1066 the language of the courts was French for the next three centuries, and the Norman ambience prevailed. In spite of this, many surnames of Anglo-Saxon origin survived, and the family name Plowman was first referenced in the year 1223, when Robert Plouman held estates in the northern county of Westmorland.

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Early History of the Plowman family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Plowman research. Another 114 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1275, 1345, 1560, 1773, 1811, 1843, and 1867 are included under the topic Early Plowman History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Plowman Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Plouman, Plowman, Ploughman, Ploman, Plewman, Plemons, Plimon, Pleuman, Plemmons and many more.

Early Notables of the Plowman family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Plowman Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Plowman migration +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Plowman Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Edward Plowman, who settled in Virginia in 1638
  • Edward Plowman, who arrived in Virginia in 1638 [1]
  • Fra Plowman, who landed in Virginia in 1663 [1]
  • William Plowman, who arrived in Barbados in 1664
Plowman Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Jonathan Plowman, who settled in Virginia in 1700
  • William Plowman, who settled in Virginia in 1726
  • John Plowman, who immigrated to Maryland in 1749
  • Thomas Plowman, who landed in America in 1760-1763 [1]
Plowman Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Charlotte Plowman, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1818
  • Anthony Plowman, who settled in Baltimore in 1829
  • E. Plowman, who emigrated from Ireland to New York in 1852
  • George Frederick Plowman, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1871 [1]

Plowman migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Plowman Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

Plowman migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:


The Adelphi

In 1930 Plowman joined John Middleton Murry and Richard Rees in developing The Adelphi as a socialist monthly Murry had founded it in 1923 as a literary journal (The New Adelphi, 1927–30) Rees edited it from 1930 to 1936, when he withdrew on account of Murry's commitment to pacifism, which increasingly became the magazine's theme Murry resumed editorship until 1938, when Plowman took on the role. [8] The Adelphi was closely aligned with the Independent Labour Party [9] Jack Common worked for it as circulation promoter and assistant editor [10] in the 1930s. In addition to the Alephi, Plowman also wrote for the publications The New Age, Peace News, Twentieth Century, Now and Then and the Theosophical journal The Aryan Path. [11]

In 1929 George Orwell had sent The New Adelphi an article. Plowman sent Orwell books to review, founding an important friendship and Rees was Orwell's literary executor. Plowman later got to know Orwell better through Mabel Fierz. [12] Orwell described Plowman as "pugnacious", [13] and although one writer has suggested that Orwell was still in agreement with Plowman's pacifism in early 1938, [14] another has pointed out that Orwell supported the International Brigade in Spain and "was often rude about pacifists [although] he had good friends who were pacifists". [15] Later that year Plowman introduced Orwell to Leo Myers, and set up a secret gift of £300 from Myers so that Orwell and his wife could travel to Morocco, to restore Orwell's health. [16]

Plowman co-founded in 1934 and ran the Adelphi Centre. [17] It was an early commune, based on a farm in Langham, Essex bought by Middleton Murry. [18] Short-lived in its original conception, it ran a Summer School in August 1936 that was stellar: Orwell spoke on "An Outsider Sees the Distressed Areas" on 4 August, with Rayner Heppenstall in the chair. Other speakers were Steve Shaw, Herbert Read, Grace Rogers, J. Hampden Jackson, N. A. Holdaway (a Marxist theorist and schoolmaster, and a Director of the Centre), Geoffrey Sainsbury, Reinhold Niebuhr, Karl Polanyi, John Strachey, Plowman and Common. [19]

Through it he also met the pacifist dramatist Richard Heron Ward, [20] who from 1936 became a close friend. [21] Ward formed the 'Adelphi Players' in 1941, who used the Adelphi Centre for rehearsals. [22]

By 1937 the commune had collapsed, and the house, 'The Oaks', was turned over to 64 Basque refugee children under the auspices of the Peace Pledge Union they remained until 1939. [23]

Plowman was attracted into organising for pacifism in the later 1930s by Hugh Richard Lawrie Sheppard. He was the first General Secretary of the Peace Pledge Union 1937–1938. [2] Murry, to whom Plowman was now close, became a pacifist after a diversion into communism. Plowman emphasised the importance of the individual conscience in an age of totalitarianism:

I am confident that if a man surrenders his conscience to his idea of community, or to his Fuhrer, it doesn't must matter whether he calls himself Communist or Fascist-he has foresworn the element in himself which alone can keep society human. And for want of that element, society must and will inevitably grow more and more barbarous. You can see it happening. [24]

Plowman was a member of the "Forethought Committee" in the PPU, which emphasised rural community living and humanitarian service as a means of coping with the war other members included Murry, Wilfred Wellock, Vera Brittain, Canon Charles Raven and Mary Gamble. [25]


Plowman, Max

Published by J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd., London, 1927

Used - Hardcover
Condition: Good

Hardcover. Condition: Good. No Jacket. Cloth. Good/No Jacket. Black-and-white frontis illustration by Blake. Light rubbing and bumping of cover extremities. Cover slightly warped and with some light staining that would indicate damp exposure, but interior is clean, tight, and without stains. Prior owner name/date/place on front endpaper.


Judge Orders Reinstatement of Virginia Teacher Suspended for Opposing Trans Policy

Michał Chodyra/iStock/Getty Images Plus

A judge has ordered that a Virginia teacher who was suspended for opposing a proposed transgender policy at a school-board meeting be reinstated to his position.

Tanner Cross, a physical-education teacher at Leesburg Elementary School in Loudoun County, was placed on administrative leave on May 27, two days after he expressed opposition to a proposed policy requiring teachers to refer to students by their preferred names and pronouns instead of those corresponding to their legal names and sexes.

“I love all of my students, but I will never lie to them regardless of the consequences,” Cross said during the public-comment portion of a school-board meeting. “I’m a teacher, but I serve God first, and I will not affirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa because it is against my religion. It’s lying to a child. It’s abuse to a child. And it’s sinning against our God.”

Such effrontery did not sit well with the far-left Loudoun County School Board, which proceeded not only to suspend Cross but also to bar him from all school property.

A letter from the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing Cross, to the school district failed to change any minds, so Cross filed suit and sought an emergency injunction reinstating him to his former position.

On Tuesday, Judge James Plowman, Jr., of Virginia’s 20th Circuit Court granted the injunction pending trial.

Most of Plowman’s opinion considered whether Cross was likely to prevail at trial, one of the main criteria for granting emergency relief. He noted that Cross’ anti-transgender-policy comments were offered in his capacity as a private citizen — he had to go through the same process to speak at the meeting as anyone else — and were about “a matter of public concern.” Thus, his speech was constitutionally protected. In addition, he found it likely that Cross’ right to the free exercise of religion had also been violated because “the ‘comments’ made by the Plaintiff have in their very core, proclamations of faith and how he is to apply them to his life.”

The school board, on the other hand, acted in bad faith, Plowman suggested.

The board argued that Cross had to be suspended because his comments had disrupted operations at Leesburg Elementary School. However, the board provided little evidence to back up its assertion, and even much of that was suspect. Primarily, the board cited six e-mails from five families who requested that their children be removed from Cross’ classroom because of his remarks. Considering that Leesburg Elementary has about 400 students, Plowman found “the magnitude of parental complaints to be de minimis … and could not reasonably be construed to be so disruptive to school operations as to justify” Cross’ suspension.

Plowman pointed out some other interesting features of the e-mails. First, although the school claimed Cross had been reassigned from his morning duties on May 26 because of the e-mails, only one of them had been sent prior to that time. Second, “Some of the beliefs and assertions expressed by parents regarding Plaintiff’s anticipated future conduct, are wholly inconsistent with his statements to the School Board,” something the board was “readily aware of … at the time the suspension was issued,” he observed in a footnote.

“The weight of the evidence,” Plowman declared, “supports a determination that the Plaintiff is likely to prevail on the merits.”

Plowman also found that Cross had suffered “irreparable harm” both by being suspended for speaking his mind and by being banned from school property, preventing him from appearing at future board meetings.

The board’s actions beyond suspension further caught Plowman’s attention. Why, he asked, did the board need to suspend Cross when there were only three weeks left in the school year? Even worse, perhaps, is the fact that the board felt it necessary to notify the entire “Leesburg Elementary School community” of Cross’ suspension, a decision Plowman considered “unnecessary and vindictive.”

Finally, Plowman decided to issue the injunction because “upholding constitutional rights is in the public interest.” He ordered the board to reinstate Cross “immediately” and to lift its prohibition on his stepping onto school grounds. He directed both parties to the lawsuit to schedule a trial by June 16.


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