School District Defies Supreme Court Rulings - Bans Religious Material

A Michigan school district is thumbing its at the U.S. Constitution by banning the presence of any religious material on campus grounds in defiance of rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Houghton-Portage Township School District and principal Kathryn Simila are being hauled into court for their unconstitutional anti-religious policies after halting the distribution by some students of Campus Crusade for Christ Student Survival Kits.

Students Valerie Snyder and Danile Duefrene filed suit challenging the District's atheistic policies that absolutely prohibit distribution of any religious material even including the Holy Bible, Torah or Koran.

According to the district's policy: "The distribution of any religious materials, bound or unbound, is prohibited on school grounds or in any attendance facility before, during or after the school day or a school activity. Religious materials as distributed herein may be described as, but not limited to the following: any version of the Bible (including the Gideon Bible), translations of the Septuagint and the Apocrypha, Torah, Koran or any other similar religious books of faith, pamphlets, sectarian or denomination books, tracts, papers or other such materials including pictures, symbols, crosses, statues or icons."

The lawsuit originated after Simila and Assistant Principal Kenneth Klein saw the two students distributing Kits to their friends and ordered them to stop. The students were told that they could not distribute the Campus Crusade Survival Kits to their friends and acquaintances

"The unconstitutionality of the school's policy prohibiting distribution of any religious materials at any time during the school day or after the school day is absolutely staggering." said Erik Stanley, Litigation Counsel for Liberty Counsel, the Orlando, Florida-based civil liberties education and legal defense organization representing the students.

"The Supreme Court has stated explicitly that students do not shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion at the schoolhouse gate. The school's policy shreds the First Amendment, and prohibits students from exercising the rights that they hold.

"This blatant violation of students' rights should not go unchecked. Public schools are not totalitarian regimes where only acceptable statements are allowed. The First Amendment protects students' rights to distribute religious literature on public school campuses during non-instructional time. The Houghton-Portage Township School District is mandated by the Constitution to accept this," Stanley concluded.