Downingtown High School East Campus in Exton, Pa.
Students at a Pennsylvania high school have filed a federal lawsuit against a district policy they say results in equating religious viewpoints with profanity.
The Alliance Defense Fund, representing Christian students at Downingtown High School East Campus in Exton, Pa., says it has numerous examples of the district barring religious views unconstitutionally.
“To consider religious speech – including the word ‘Bible’ – in the same class of speech as profanity is outlandish,” said ADF-allied attorney Randall Wenger of the Lancaster law firm Clymer & Musser, P.C. “If this weren’t such a serious offense, you’d think it was a joke.”
In one example, according to the complaint [pdf file], the Downingtown Prayer Club was censored by school officials when one of its members submitted for official approval posters for “See You at the Pole.” The annual event features Christian students gathering at the beginning of the day at the school’s flagpole to pray for their school and nation.
One poster included a Bible verse from Jeremiah 33 which refers to prayer.
The school’s principal insisted the Bible verse and picture of a cross would need to be omitted along with any reference to God.
“It’s ridiculous for school officials to tell students that they can only have a poster inviting people to pray as long as the poster omits ‘God,'” said Wenger. “To whom exactly are school officials proposing that students pray?”
Wenger argued the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution “absolutely guarantees the right of students to hold and express their viewpoint.”
“The sad truth is, on campuses across the nation, Christian students are facing harassment by school administrators who use their position as a bully pulpit,” he said.
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