Sunday, November 30, 2014

Student Suspended for Jesus Talk Sues Wash. School

Michael Leal has been suspended repeatedly and threatened with expulsion from Cascade High School for telling other students about his faith and distributing Christian publications during free time at school, and so the senior student is suing the Everett Public Schools in suburban Seattle for violating his First Amendment religious liberty and free speech in U.S. District Court in Seattle (Judge Thomas Zilly).
"It has been well established by court precedent that students do not leave their free speech rights at the schoolhouse door. Unfortunately certain officials at the school have a disagreement on this matter which is why it has become necessary to file this lawsuit."
-- Conrad Reynoldson, a Seattle attorney who is working with the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) to represent Leal.
UPDATE 6/2/15: Federal Judge OKs Michael Leal's Preaching at School

For background, click headlines below to read previous articles:

Florida Teacher Bans Bible in Free Time, Parents Sue

Colorado School Bans Jesus Talk During Free Time

'Bless You' After Sneeze Gets Tennessee Student Suspended

Arizona Schools Ban Christian Football Coaches

California School Bans Books by Christian Authors

However, Tennessee Democrats & Republicans Pass Religious Liberty for Schools

-- From "Seattle-area teen sues school after being suspended for 'disruptive' preaching of Christianity" by Matt Bradwell, UPI 11/19/14

Michael Leal does not deny that he repeatedly passed out mass-produced Christian literature at suburban Seattle Cascade High School, and claims he was fully within his rights to do so.

But school officials say Leal was disciplined not for evangelizing, but creating a "substantial disruption," and that distinction was made clear at the time of each suspension.

"At no time was Mr. Leal told that his distribution of material or his statements were inappropriate at school because of their religious content," Michael Patterson, attorney for Everett School, said in a letter to Leal's representation obtained by the Seattle Post Intelligencer.

"Rather, he was informed of District policy ... and told that he needed to comply with it. He was also informed that he could not create a substantial disruption at school or school events."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Student punished for preaching sues Everett school district" by Mike Carter, Seattle Times staff reporter 11/19/14

Just after school started in early September, Leal was handing out [the “How to Know God”] pamphlet in the lunchroom and talking to other students about his religious beliefs. He was confronted by a school counselor and taken to the office of Principal Cathy Woods, according to the lawsuit.

Leal claims that Woods told him the tract was “proselytizing” and that he was prohibited from handing it out “because it may offend students and make them upset.”

On Oct. 1, Leal attended the bonfire event on the high-school campus, where the lawsuit said school officials twice interrupted his preaching — first at the bonfire and again at a nearby dance. Leal said he also was handing out religious tracts.

Woods reportedly told him: “You need to stop,” which the lawsuit acknowledges he did, “after 15 or 20 minutes” and after he was told police were on their way. In the interim, Leal claims that he “respectfully began to express his views regarding the claims of the Christian faith” to the administrators, who responded by telling him: “We don’t want you preaching to us!”

Two days later, the lawsuit alleges Leal went to a school volleyball game, where he “walked around the school among the other attendees, and gave tracts to parents and students who wanted one.”

School officials said the activities violate the district’s policies on student conduct and freedom of expression, according to court documents.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "High schooler suspended after preaching claims religious persecution, sues" By Levi Pulkkinen, Seattle Post-Intelligencer Staff 11/18/14

[After the volleyball incident,] He was back to preaching and passing out tracts the next day, speaking with other students during his lunch break and, according to the district, during class. His attorneys claim he didn’t disrupt the school and did so only during non-instructional time; Patterson said Leal shouted “Praise the Lord” when he and other students were told to get back to work during a senior seminar.

Suspended again – that time for “distribution of religious material and failure to comply with school rules” – Leal was told he would be expelled if he continued. That prompted a Pacific Justice Institute attorney to send a letter to the district on his client’s behalf, claiming district policy makes clear students are allowed to distribute religious tracts.

“Leal has not now, nor has he ever, used preaching or distribution of literature, to harass, intimidate, or bully any students, school employees, or others on campus,” the attorneys said in court papers. “Instead, Leal presents general propositions to his classmates. …

“Leal does not point out or identify any individual in the gathering of students as a sinner.”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Christian beliefs put student in danger of expulsion" by Bob Unruh, World Net Daily 11/29/14

According to the complaint, the principal, Woods, “instructed Leal that she must give him permission to hand out tracts, and further that she needed to monitor him.”

“She attempted to justify her position by stating that if she allowed Leal to ‘hand out tracts and to talk about Jesus she would be breaking the law.’ Attempting to understand the principal’s position clearly, Leal asked to confirm that ‘if you allow me to hand out tracts and to talk about Jesus, then you would be breaking the law?’ Woods’ response was an unqualified ‘yes,’” according to the complaint.

The complaint said the school responded by stating a rule that gives the principal “unbridled discretion” to restrict the student’s speech.

Conrad Reynoldson, who is serving PJI as local counsel on the case, said the policies and procedures challenged in this case would prevent students from handing out not only Gospel tracts but also copies of the Constitution.

Along with the district, the complaint names as defendants Supt. Gary Cohn, Cascade High School principal Cathy Woods and Cascade assistant principals Robert Aguilar and Laura Phillips.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read about Atheists' X-Rated Bible and Satanic Book Distribution in Florida Schools

And read the latest news of the War against Christmas waged by public schools nationwide.