Court Approves Tight Restrictions on Student Speech
Seattle, WA–A federal judge in Seattle issued a ruling yesterday that upholds some of the most restrictive policies on student literature in the country.
The court said it was “troubled” by some aspects of the policies but nevertheless upheld them. The challenged policies include rules that students at high schools in Everett may only distribute literature that they or their fellow students have written, and then only at school entrances and exits before and after school.
Attorneys with Pacific Justice Institute represent Michael Leal, a senior at Cascade High School. Leal, who seeks to give gospel tracts to fellow students, has been suspended and threatened with expulsion under the rules.
PJI believes the restriction of literature distribution to entrances and exits contradicts the Supreme Court’s famous 1969 Tinker decision that says students do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate. PJI also believes the school’s insistence that students create their own literature—which prevents them from distributing copies of Bible verses or even the U.S. Constitution—goes too far and is unlikely to be upheld on appeal.
Brad Dacus, president of PJI, commented, “While we are certainly disappointed with this decision, we remain firmly convinced that these rules are unconstitutional restrictions of speech that will ultimately be invalidated.”
The ruling concerned PJI’s motion for a preliminary injunction.
Pacific Justice Institute is a non-profit legal organization dedicated to defending religious, parental, and other constitutional rights.
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