ICC Note: A Kansas City middle school recently denied a seventh grade student the right to distribute flyers promoting the “See You at the Pole” prayer event at her school. Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a lawsuit against the school district on her behalf, claiming violations of the First and Fourteenth Amendments and the Kansas Preservation of Religious Freedom Act. Despite the fact that the school allowed a poster to hang in the school promoting drug and alcohol use for nearly a year, they refuse to budge regarding the young Christian’s flyers.
By Samuel Smith
12/31/2014 United States (The Christian Post) – A Kansas public middle school has prevented a seventh grader from passing out and posting religious flyers inviting fellow students to join her for a prayer session at the school’s flagpole before class.
Alliance Defending Freedom, a group that advocates for religious expression, announced earlier this month that it has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the unnamed student at Robert E. Clark Middle School, located in the suburbs of Kansas City.
The lawsuit claims that the Bonner Springs/Edwardsville Unified School District policy, which prohibits students from distributing religious materials on school property, violates the First and Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, as well as the Kansas Preservation of Religious Freedom Act.
ADF explains that the student it represents is a devout Christian with a strong desire to share her faith with her classmates. She wanted to distribute flyers, which included scripture, to invite her classmates to participate in the “See You at the Pole” event she wanted to have before school one day.
The student’s desire to post and pass out the flyers, ADF argues, is much like the same reason that other students in the school post their flyers: “to inform their classmates about activities and events in which the students may desire to participate.”
“Students do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate. Non-disruptive private student expression is protected by the First Amendment,” the lawsuit states. “Private speakers are entitled to equal, viewpoint neutral access to public fora.”
ADF further points out that it is quite ironic that the school failed in the past to use the power of censorship when students posted posters referencing marijuana and alcohol, yet was quick to censor flyers that were designed to inform students of a harmless prayer gathering. As the lawsuit states, a poster promoting the popular rap star Lil Wayne which had the words “Good Kush and Alcohol” written on it was posted in the school’s hallway just outside of the locker room for the “majority of the 2012-2013 school year.”