Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Texas ACLU Defends Christians' Rights in School

The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas is questioning the Brownsville Independent School District for requiring students to hide any religious symbols such as Christian crosses or rosaries.

For background, read Illinois School Suspends Christian for Rosary Beads and also read School Bans Ten Commandments, ACLU Defends Christians

UPDATE 9/14/12:
Thompson Valley High School in Loveland, CO bars rosary beads -- calls them gang symbols

-- From "School Scrutinized on Rosary Restrictions" by The Associated Press 11/21/11

Lisa Graybill, legal director for the ACLU of Texas, says she has filed open records requests to examine the district policy.

She says students' right to wear articles of faith in school is "indisputably protected" by the U.S. Constitution and Texas law.

School officials in Brownsville tell the San Antonio Express-News there is no written policy, but they've asked students to tuck the items under their clothes after receiving a warning from school police.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Rosary rules draw ACLU scrutiny" by Lynn Brezosky, San Antonio Express-News 11/19/11

District Police Chief Oscar Garcia said a handful of students at Simon Rivera High School had been wearing handmade “rosaries” around their heads and waists, which was an indication of affiliation with prison gangs.

“I want to be really, really clear that we totally understand and respect the imperative that school administrators and district personnel have to keep schools safe,” [Graybill] said. “Schools cannot substantially burden a student's free exercise of religion, which includes wearing an article of faith, like a rosary or a cross or a yarmulke, or long hair for an American Indian student, without a compelling reason.”

She said a district-wide policy based on an unsubstantiated gang threat, or even an existing policy that is vague, might be crossing the line.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Texas School to Students: Cover Crosses, Other Religious Symbols" by Simon Brown, Opposing Views 11/28/11

Jeff Mateer of the Liberty Institute, a Texas-based organization that is guided by principles of limited government and Judeo-Christian values, said the ACLU defense of these students is not standard procedure, according to the American Family News Network.

Mateer added, though, that it’s not unheard of.

“I would note that this is the Texas ACLU, versus the national ACLU,” he said. “The Texas ACLU has joined with us here in Texas on a few cases, so they seem to be a little more intellectually honest.”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.