Seattle Federal Court Nears Final Decision in Student Speech Case
Seattle, WA–Attorneys for a high school student in the Seattle area are preparing to go back to the federal trial court for the last time this week before a major decision in the case.
High school senior Michael Leal has been suspended several times this school year for giving fellow students gospel tracts. Attorneys with Pacific Justice Institute were surprised by the level of restrictiveness in the school district’s policies and procedures and believe they are unconstitutional. Among other things, the policies require that literature be written or produced by students, thus banning most evangelistic tracts or even copies of the U.S. Constitution. The policies also give school authorities complete discretion to selectively grant some students greater freedom to distribute literature.
PJI filed suit in November of last year. Final briefs and motions have now been filed, and oral argument will be presented this coming Friday, May 29, at 10:00 a.m. before Judge Thomas S. Zilly in the federal courthouse in Seattle. The hearing is open to the public.
Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, commented, “For nearly half a century, the Supreme Court has declared that students’ constitutional rights do not end at the schoolhouse gate. That fundamental principle is being tested in this case. To be clear, school authorities retain significant power to prevent substantial disruptions and maintain order and safety. Unfortunately, this school district crossed the line by restricting far more speech than was necessary and treating high schoolers more like inmates than the future leaders that they are.”
A decision is anticipated just prior to graduation ceremonies in mid-June. PJI is being assisted locally in the case by Seattle attorney Conrad Reynoldson.
Pacific Justice Institute is a non-profit legal organization dedicated to defending religious, parental, and other constitutional rights.
P.O. Box 276600 Sacramento, CA 95827-6600
Phone: (916) 857-6900, Fax: (916) 857-6902