Suspended High Schooler claims religious Persecution sues school

Nov 2008
62,911
4,838
Washington state
#1
EVERETT, Wash. -- An Everett high school student who claims he was wrongly suspended for loudly sharing his Christian faith has sued the school district, claiming his Constitutional rights were violated.


Michael Leal proselytized to his classmates at Cascade High School and passed out lengthy, mass-produced religious tracts, to the apparent annoyance of school administrators. Leal was suspended three times after he refused to tone down his freeform sermons and stop handing out Bible verses.


"There's people that talk about many other things -- football, basketball, baseball -- but when I start talking about the Bible, stat talking about Jesus, then people get riled up," Leal said.


With the help of a national Christian rights organization, Leal filed a federal lawsuit Monday against the Everett School District, his school principal and others. In it, he contends he was subjected to religious discrimination during a months-long fight with school staff over his sermons and pamphleteering.
http://q13fox.com/2014/11/19/high-s...times-for-preaching-handing-out-bible-tracts/

Does a a persons religious beliefs stop at the schools door? This student doesn't think so.
 
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StanStill

Former Staff
Dec 2013
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#2
I think he's free to believe whatever he wants, but when you are in high school and the teacher or principal tells you you need to shut up and quit irritating other students, you have to do it. Sucks, but it's true.
 
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Rorschach

Former Staff
Aug 2012
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#3
Yea, well, who wants to listen to this young man preaching the Gospel, when they are trying to listen in to Peggy Sue and Mary Lou's conversation about their three way with Mr. Petersbig?
 
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Mar 2010
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#4
I think he's free to believe whatever he wants, but when you are in high school and the teacher or principal tells you you need to shut up and quit irritating other students, you have to do it. Sucks, but it's true.
I agree. Having beliefs is one thing but if he is proselytizing at school they can and should tell him to stop.

As long as they stop the religious fundamentalists with their "born this way" proselytizing t shirts.
 
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Feb 2011
17,073
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The formerly great golden state
#7
EVERETT, Wash. -- An Everett high school student who claims he was wrongly suspended for loudly sharing his Christian faith has sued the school district, claiming his Constitutional rights were violated.


Michael Leal proselytized to his classmates at Cascade High School and passed out lengthy, mass-produced religious tracts, to the apparent annoyance of school administrators. Leal was suspended three times after he refused to tone down his freeform sermons and stop handing out Bible verses.


"There's people that talk about many other things -- football, basketball, baseball -- but when I start talking about the Bible, stat talking about Jesus, then people get riled up," Leal said.


With the help of a national Christian rights organization, Leal filed a federal lawsuit Monday against the Everett School District, his school principal and others. In it, he contends he was subjected to religious discrimination during a months-long fight with school staff over his sermons and pamphleteering.
High school student: I?ve been suspended 3 times for preaching, handing out Bible tracts | Q13 FOX News

Does a a persons religious beliefs stop at the schools door? This student doesn't think so.
Parents send their kids to school so they can learn math, language arts, history, and science and not so they can listen to some kid preach. Let him hand out his pamphlets and preach his sermons outside of school hours.

Would an employee in any business get away with interrupting the other workers by preaching and handing out fliers? I think not. He'd be fired, and rightly so.

Anyway, high school kids are just that, kids. They aren't adults and don't have the same rights and responsibilities that adults do. Kids in school have the right to follow the rules set down by the adults in charge, period.
 
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Dec 2010
36,825
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Virginia
#8
I think he's free to believe whatever he wants, but when you are in high school and the teacher or principal tells you you need to shut up and quit irritating other students, you have to do it. Sucks, but it's true.
Well, not necessarily. The courts have held that students don't, of necessity, sacrifice their rights while in school. Schools may act to limit disruptions and harassment but they may not limit speech (as an agent of the government) simply because they don't like the content of that speech. The question, at hand, is whether his mode of expression constitutes an inherently disruptive or harassing act. If he is, for example, preaching in the quad or in the cafeteria, and he doesn't "target" students for his harangue, then one would have difficulty articulating a case for his constraint. If, however, he begins preaching in the middle of calculus or English class (or continues to pursue and harangue students after being asked to stop) then the school may act to constrain him from doing so. His rights don't trump the rights of other students.
 
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StanStill

Former Staff
Dec 2013
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#9
Well, not necessarily. The courts have held that students don't, of necessity, sacrifice their rights while in school. Schools may act to limit disruptions and harassment but they may not limit speech (as an agent of the government) simply because they don't like the content of that speech. The question, at hand, is whether his mode of expression constitutes an inherently disruptive or harassing act. If he is, for example, preaching in the quad or in the cafeteria, and he doesn't "target" students for his harangue, then one would have difficulty articulating a case for his constraint. If, however, he begins preaching in the middle of calculus or English class (or continues to pursue and harangue students after being asked to stop) then the school may act to constrain him from doing so. His rights don't trump the rights of other students.
I agree. Granted, I don't know the exact circumstances of the situation, but my guess is that his antics have caused enough of a brouhaha among students that the administration wants the issue to go away so that kids can get back to actually doing their work. I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure that courts already have upheld all kinds of restrictions on clothing such as t-shirts with messages or images that are "indecent" (which I find kind of absurd) but the defense was that the shirts are causing a disturbance. The general consensus seems to be that the school administrators have the power to decide what is a disturbance and what isn't based on the situation and the school.

Sometimes that power goes a little overboard.
 

Singularity

Former Staff
Oct 2009
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#10
Previous Supreme Court rulings have pretty much addressed this...


While high schoolers have rights, if the school administration determines their freedom of expression to be objectively disruptive,

meaning that it is not the content of what they are saying, but the manner in which they are saying it that is the issue,

they have pretty much complete authority to curtail it and punish defiance.


And [MENTION=3300]aboutenough[/MENTION], if that principle proves not to be upheld, get ready for HAIL SATAN to be shouted during school assemblies.

The drive to be disruptive and "funny" is much more powerful for your average kid than religion.
 
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