Fla. school erred in barring Easter fliers, judge says

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Editor’s note: The Tampa Bay Times reported that U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore issued an injunction on Oct. 26 finding that the Hillsborough County School Board can’t use its policies to prevent the student from distributing the invitations. But the newspaper reported that Whittemore “also ruled that the child would not get an injunction against the school board allowing him to distribute invitations immediately.”

The Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times reports that a federal magistrate judge has ruled that when Hillsborough County schools told a fourth-grader that he couldn’t hand out fliers about an Easter-egg hunt, they violated his First Amendment rights.

But U.S. Magistrate Elizabeth A. Jenkins stopped short in her Oct. 5 ruling of saying that the school must allow the pupil to hand out fliers this year. She said the school board should apply its rules to the fliers only if they interfere with school operation.

The invitations said “learn the true meaning of Easter.” The school board contended that such a message constituted proselytizing, which was why the principal denied permission for distribution.

Also see: Distributing religious literature

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