Rock band leader, radio show host and international ministry organizer Bradlee Deanhas been ejected from another school campus.
This time, attorneys with the public interest firm Liberty Counsel have written to educators explaining that the Constitution applies on school grounds.
Dean’s ministry, You Can Run But You Cannot Hide, says it delivers messages of uncompromising integrity and moral values to audiences wherever he can reach them. His organization told WND he had been scheduled to speak to the “American Club” at Spanish River High in Boca Raton, Fla., yesterday.
But the announcement said “on the actual day of the speaking event, and with no notice, the principal acted arbitrarily” and ordered Dean out of the building.
The organization statement from Dean spokesman Jake McAuley noted the same student club had invited other conservative speakers recently without incident, including entertainer Victoria Jackson.
School district spokesman Mat Harrington said the principal and department head claimed not to know about the event, so it was not approved. He told WND the school absolutely would censor speech based on its content.
According to a letter from Horatia G. Mihet of Liberty Counsel, the school must reverse its ban on Dean.
“The club must be permitted to have guest speakers Bradlee Dean and the Sons of Liberty speak, without the school censoring their message. Bradlee Dean and SOLR are on tour from Michigan, and have other stops scheduled,” the letter dated today said.
“If we do not hear from you … or if your decision is to uphold the principal’s actions in this case, we will proceed with filing a federal court action next week. At that time, we will seek a temporary restraining order against the school district to allow the American Club to host Bradlee Dean and other speakers without unconstitutional censorship by school officials … and will seek damages.”
According to the letter, the conflict developed this way:
“Yesterday, Feb. 13, was the long-scheduled day for the American Club (a student-initiated, student-led club) to host Bradlee Dean as the guest speaker at an after-school meeting of the club, while Sons of Liberty Radio broadcasted the event. This event was properly arranged with the school, which had notified students of its occurrence for three weeks on PA system announcements (and had also been advertised on Facebook). Halfway through the event yesterday, it was shut down by school officials acting at the command of the principal, who cited ‘controversial statements’ and ‘anti-homosexuality’ of the group ‘The Sons of Liberty’ as the rationale …
“One official stated that the Constitution doesn’t apply to school property, and that neither the club nor the speakers had any First Amendment rights. Another then stated that actually, ‘the school just wasn’t able to properly vet’ Bradlee and SOLR, and that they always ‘vet’ speakers for students clubs, and that the faculty adviser of the club (Mr. Daub) who approved Bradlee and SOLR would be ‘held accountable.’ A number of school officials consulted with one another before banning Bradlee Dean and SOLR from campus: Principal William Latson, Mr. Sollod, Ms. Goron, Ms. O’conno, and Mr. Berke.”
The lawyers said Berke “even went so far as to yell to the assembled kids that ‘none of what Bradlee Dean tells you is true; it’s all misinformation.’ These statements were captured on video.”
The lawyers noted that previous speakers have included World War II veteran Henry Konrad, Sue Trombino of Women Impacting the Nation, a firearms instructor and several legislative candidates.
"When Mr. Berke was questioned as to whether the school had 'vetted' any of these speakers, he stated, 'I can honestly say that we haven't,'" the letter said.
But the school was unconstitutionally imposing "viewpoint discrimination" on Dean, they wrote.
"We see serious constitutional problems with the principal censoring religious and political expression simply because they are deemed 'offensive,' especially when there are no specific, articulable facts to support such an assertion," they wrote.
"Federal law, including the Constitution, protects the right of student clubs to present their ideas without fear of censorship because of disagreement with the content of the message."
Dean said if standing up against "those who perpetuate crimes against our posterity is wrong, then I am guilty as charged."
"America should pay careful attention to who is doing the discriminating, and who is abiding by the laws of our republic," he said.
WND previously reported controversy over Dean's appearance at a public school in Iowa.
It was last March when Dean and his band, Junkyard Prophet, were accused of "gay bashing" in an appearance at a Dunkerton, Iowa, school and warned by the fire chief that he would close the town's roads to keep the band from returning.
But after support from the nonprofit legal advocacy group Liberty Counsel, Dean returned to Dunkerton and spoke at the city's library during the Dunkerton Days festival.
"We were given a victory by God's providential hand and the example was given to this generation, and anyone else, how they can receive the same victory for truth," Dean told WND.
"As I travel this awesome God-given nation, I come up with the same conclusion every event I am part of," Dean said. "The majority of Americans share the conservative Judeo-Christian values I fight for. We can win this culture war when we fight together. It is leadership we are lacking in our cause, someone willing to risk reputation to set the precedent that our silent majority is waiting to join."
The March presentation at Dunkerton High School included challenges to students to make the right decisions about life and their futures. The band also warned about the damaging impact of the homosexual lifestyle and abortion.
Dean had told WND the controversy developed when media started reporting on the band's visit. He contends that he and his band performed, presented their message of making good choices, visited with students and then left without hearing any concerns.
He said complaints, like that from a mother, were based on distortions. The mother said the band "told these kids that anyone who was gay was going to die at the age of 42."
In fact, MacAulay had said that the average age of death of a homosexual male is 42 years.
For his return to Dunkerton, Dean reserved a room used for public meetings at the Dunkerton City Library.
The city then tried to cancel the event but reversed its position when Liberty Counsel wrote the city. The group pointed out that the law did not allow officials to censor someone based on their opinions or perspective.
"Religious speech is not a First Amendment orphan – it is just as protected as any other speech," said Richard Mast, an attorney with Liberty Counsel, in a statement. "When a government entity creates a forum ostensibly available to all, it can't suddenly retract the welcome mat because it disagrees with the speaker's message."
Dean has appeared at hundreds of forums with his message of making the right choices.
Controversy is not new for Dean. WND also reported on Dean's dispute with Rachel Maddow and MSNBC. Maddow was served with a lawsuit alleging defamation for her references to Dean's You Can Run But You Cannot Hide ministry. The case is on appeal.