Friday, July 02, 2010

Suit Challenges School's Refusal To Permit Distribution of Bibles

A lawsuit was filed in federal district court in Florida yesterday by a group known as World Changers that was refused permission to hand out Bibles in Collier County, Florida high schools. The complaint (full text) in World Changers of Florida, Inc. v. District School Board of Collier County, Florida, (MC FL, filed 7/1/2010), alleged that in the 2006-07 and 2007-08 school years it was permitted to set up a table on Religious Freedom Day to make Bibles available to students who wished to take them, and 1000 to 2000 students did. However, under a new policy, permission was refused for the 2008-09 school year. The new policy required a determination by a committee of administrators that distribution of literature by outside groups "promote student interests." The suit seeks an injunction, and a declaratory judgement that the school policy is an unconstitutional prior restraint on free speech, that it delegates standardless discretion to the Superintendent, that it is a content and viewpoint based restriction that violates plaintiff's free exercise and equal protection rights. Liberty Counsel issued a press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit.