Uttering ‘Jesus’ in school ‘not protected free speech’
A hearing is scheduled Monday before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans that could determine if students in elementary schools have the protections of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The case arose in the Plano Independent School District in Texas where Thomas Elementary School Principal Lynn Swanson and Rasor Elementary School Principal Jackie Bomchill were sued for restricting student speech when it referenced “God” or “Jesus.”
According to the Liberty Institute, in the first incident, officials banning 8-year-old Jonathan Morgan from handing out candy canes with Jesus’ name on them to classmates at a school party.
“Then they confiscated a little girl’s pencils after school because they mentioned ‘God,'” the Institute reported.
But that’s not all, the group said.
“They even banned an entire classroom from writing ‘Merry Christmas’ on cards to our troops serving in Iraq.”
The dispute went to district court then to a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit where school officials’ efforts to have the complaint rejected because of their “immunity” failed.
Now the appeals court has agreed to an en banc hearing in which 17 judges will listen to arguments and decide the dispute.