Just three weeks after a high school principal cut off his First Amendment rights in mid-sentence, ministry leader Bradlee Dean has been allowed to proceed with his program.
As WND reported, the Principal William Latson of Spanish River Community High School in Boca Raton, Fla., “acted arbitrarily” and “without notice” in ordering Dean out of the school building in the middle of his presentation in mid-February.
Dean, his band Junkyard Prophet and the Sons of Liberty Radio were invited to the school by the school’s Spanish club. Dean was to speak to the group, while Sons of Liberty Radio planned to broadcast the event.
After being thrown out of the school, Dean requested that the non-profit legal advocacy group Liberty Counsel step in to remind the school administration of the constitutional rights of the students and the speakers.
A letter to school officials describing their actions as “viewpoint discrimination” may have prompted school officials to re-think their position and allow the program to come back to the school.
“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,” said Liberty Counsel.
According to the letter to school officials, grounds for legal action for their “unconstitutional” behavior would have been warranted.
The letter recounted Dean’s dismissal from school grounds after a shocking allegation from the administration: The First Amendment doesn’t apply on school grounds.
“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,” the Liberty Counsel letter said.
“One [school] 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 [school official] 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.’
The letter said a number of school officials, including the principal, consulted with one another before banning Dean and SOLR from campus.
But Liberty Council announced that “after being thrown off campus due to viewpoint discrimination,” the school assembly went off without a hitch this week.
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.
Liberty Counsel pointed out that the school district wanted to describe the ejection of the Christian group from campus as a clerical error.
“The district’s videotaped reaction to Dean clearly showed that administration officials were familiar with his position on various issues, and his statements and reputation were the motivations behind his denial and ejection from the school,” said Liberty Counsel attorney Richard Mast.
“The district later proffered the club’s alleged failure to follow protocol as the reason for its denial. ‘Paperwork errors’ were the only obstacles that the district could come up with to justify itself. Once these were addressed, the district had no choice but to approve.”
Dean said it’s “easy to stand up and fight for what you love, and I love this generation enough to fight for them.”
“It stands true, God will give you what you are willing to fight for. No excuses. God has not changed – the American people have,” he said.
Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, said school officials involved in the incident “censored Bradley Dean because of allegations about his position on homosexuality.”
“School officials crossed the line and violated the First Amendment,” he said. “Liberty Counsel was proud to stand beside these students and help them defend their constitutional rights.”
Neither the high school nor the school district offered information about the event.
Dean told WND he is pleased he could re-present his program to the students at Spanish River High School.
His organization said several dozen students showed up for the after-school discussion.
“This generation is subjected to everything and protected from nothing,” Dean told WND. “You cannot complain about our posterity when they are guilty as taught. They simply reflect their teachers. I am tired of seeing the older generations divert responsibility. So I am doing my best to make up for their lack thereof.”
WND previously reported controversy over Dean’s appearance at a public school in Iowa.
It was last March when Dean and his band were accused of “gay bashing” in an appearance at a Dunkerton, Iowa, school and warned by the fire chief that the town’s roads would be shut down to keep the band from returning.
But after a letter from Liberty Council, 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.”
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 group. The case is on appeal.