Monday, April 29, 2013

Suit Challenges School's Ban On 6th Grader Handing Out Anti-Abortion Flyers

A lawsuit was filed last week in a Minnesota federal district court challenging the policies of a Minnesota public charter school that prohibited a 6th grader from distributing anti-abortion flyers to her classmates during lunch time.  The complaint (full text) in A.Z. v. Nova Classical Academy, (D MN, filed 4/25/2013), recounts that a school administrator told plaintiff and her friends that they could not pass out the flyers because some students find them offensive.  The school took the position that below the high-school level, it can ban political, religious and controversial speech. The lawsuit claims that the 6th-grader plaintiff  has religious beliefs that compel her to share her faith, beliefs and pro-life viewpoints with friends and classmates at school. It asserts that the school is discriminating against plaintiff's religious, pro-life viewpoint since it permits students to hand out other items such as birthday party invitations. The complaint alleges that the school's literature distribution policy violates plaintiff's free speech, free exercise, due process, equal protection and Establishment Clause rights. Alliance Defending Freedom issued a press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit.