ICC Note: In 2014, high school senior Michael Leal filed a lawsuit against his school after being suspended multiple times for sharing his faith with classmates. A federal judge in Washington state has ruled partially in Leal’s favor by expunging his records. Leal was legally represented by the Pacific Justice Institute who claimed that the teen was threatened with expulsion if he continued his evangelistic efforts on campus.
By Heather Clark
06/03/2015 United States (Christian News Network) – A federal judge in Washington has ruled partly in favor of a high school student who was repeatedly suspended last year over his evangelistic activities on campus, ordering the punishments on his record to be expunged.
As previously reported, Michael Leal, a senior at Cascade High School in Everett, was suspended several times last year because of his efforts to share his Christian faith with his classmates. Leal distributed gospel literature to students and also preached in the open air a school event.
According to the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), which represented the teen in court, Leal was told that he faced expulsion if he continued his activities, which the school has claimed is a “disruption” on campus.
According to the Post-Intelligencer and the complaint filed in court last November, the situation began in early September when Leal distributed copies of the booklet “How to Know God” during his lunch period. He was escorted to the principal’s office and told that his actions could be offensive.
The following month, Leal again handed out tracts during the school’s “bonfire bash” and decided to preach as well, speaking on God’s law and the gospel. But he was soon approached by Principal Cathy Woods, who asked him to stop. When he continued preaching, school officials called the police, who talked with Leal, but did not stop him from his activities. However, the following day, the student was suspended from school over the incident.
Days later, Leal attempted to hand out tracts at an after school volleyball game, but was again confronted. He was told that he needed Woods’ permission to distribute the materials, but was allegedly told by Woods that she would be “breaking the law” if she allowed him to continue.