By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Three retired teachers are suing the Philadelphia School Reform Commission, claiming their rights were violated when their protest signs were confiscated at an SRC meeting last month.

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The federal suit, by retired teachers Lisa Haver, Ilene Poses, and Barbara Dowdall, claims the rules were changed at the SRC’s contentious charter school vote on February 18th.

Haver says school police confiscated her signs that opposed charter schools.

“I didn’t understand that,” she says today, “because I’ve been going to SRC meetings for fourteen years and I’ve never been told I couldn’t have a sign.”

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Furthermore, according to the lawsuit, charter school advocates were allowed to wear T-shirts to the meeting expressing support for charter applicants.

“It seems clear that only one message was allowed to be expressed in that room,” Haver tells KYW Newsradio.

The lawsuit seeks damages, but Haver says what she’s also seeking is for the SRC to enforce a consitent policy allowing people to express themselves.

A spokeswoman said the school district does not comment on pending litigation.

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