Friday, November 09, 2012

Court Requires Street Preacher To Stay Back From School Bus Stops

In Central Dauphin School District v. Garisto, (PA Com. Pl. Ct., Sept. 20, 2012), a Pennsylvania Dauphin County trial court, in a suit by a school district, issued a permanent injunction requiring a street preacher to stay at least 20 yards away from any school bus stop at which children are waiting to board or de-board buses.  Street preacher Stephen Garisto for at least 4 years has handed out Gospel tracts and spoken with school students at a school bus stops. The court concluded that a school bus stop, even though it is on a public sidewalk, is a non-public forum, so speech restrictions are permissible if they are viewpoint neutral and reasonable. The court said:
Certainly the School District has a strong interest in preventing an adult stranger from approaching captive audience school children and engaging them in conversation, handing out pamphlets, stopping them as they get off a school bus or pursuing them as they walk away therefrom.
The Central Pennsylvania Patriot-News reports on the decision.