A public school district in Pennsylvania has run afoul of religious liberty issues twice since the school year started.
In September, students in a Bible club at a high school in the Mechanicsburg Area School District created a flyer advertising their club meetings and submitted it to their principal for approval. Principal David Harris denied their request and told them they could not post the sign unless they removed a Biblical reference to Mark 16:15 from the bottom of the flyer. Attorneys from the Independence Law Center then contacted the district, and Harris eventually relented.
Then students from the club purchased 75 Bibles to give to their classmates, and, per school rules, they went to Harris for approval to distribute them between classes. Again, their principal denied their request and said they were not permitted to hand out Bibles during the school day. The Independence Law Center sent a letter on Monday asking the school to allow the distribution and alert teachers and administrators to the fact that the ban is a violation of the students’ rights.
Independence Law Center attorney Jeremy Samek told me that the case clearly falls under Supreme Court rulings declaring students don’t give up their rights when they enter school. He said banning students from distributing free Bibles to their fellow students during non-instructional time “is a clear violation of the students’ First Amendment free speech rights.” —Rachel Lynn Aldrich