Update: Boy wins right to hand out Easter invitations at school
We have an update on the story of the boy who was forbidden from handing out fliers to his friends at school inviting them to an Easter egg hunt. As you may recall, I had said I thought the kid had a case. Turns out, the judge thinks so too.
According to this story by our colleague Robbyn Mitchell the Hillsborough School Board lost in the latest round of this cae. The fourth-grade student at Lewis Elementary School in Temple Terrace asked for permission to hand out invitations to the egg hunt that promised to teach kids the "true meaning of Easter." He later got a note from the principal that said, "We are not allowed to pass out fliers related to religious events or activities."
U.S. Magistrate Elizabeth A. Jenkins ruled Oct. 5 that the School Board rules did not meet the standard that allows schools to restrict personal speech.
Even though the ACLU is often used as a boogey man by people who want prayer in school, the civil liberties group has actually gone to court quite a lot -- and won -- defending students' right to practice their religion in school. Public schools, according to these court cases, can't tell kids not to wear rosaries or that they can't write about Easter or their baptism as an essay or keep the 10 Commandments or a Bible with them. Kids are free to pray in school, it just can't be led by the teacher. And the U.S. Department of Education has issued guidelines that says students have a right to distribute religious literature, just like they can pass out a flier about a soccer tournament or piano lessons.
Too often schools take their own limitations, that teachers can't lead a class in prayer for example, and expand it to the students and that's absolutely wrong.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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