Thursday, August 23, 2007

Parent Loses Challenge To In-School Anti-Drug Speaker

Marion, Illinois parent Robert Marsh has failed to convince a federal court jury that his daughter's school district endorsed religion or fostered excessive entanglement when it permitted Texas evangelist Ronnie Hill to speak at school assemblies in November 2003. Yesterday's Houston Chronicle reports on the decision handed down last week. Originally Marsh sought an injunction against the evangelist's appearance. A judge permitted the secular in-school presentations to go on, but ordered the evangelist not to use the school talk to promote his later appearance at a local church. However, it turns out that tickets to Hill's evangelical church rally, which included a pizza party, were handed out at the school on the day Hill spoke. Then a judge dismissed Marsh's lawsuit as moot because the school assemblies had already taken place. Later, however, a second judge reinstated Marsh's claim for damages. After the jury last week found against Marsh, the court ordered him to pay the school district's court costs. (See prior related posting.)