Banning Fliers About Jesus Violated 4th Grader's Rights - U2 Feedback

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Old 04-03-2007, 10:05 AM   #1
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Banning Fliers About Jesus Violated 4th Grader's Rights

SYRACUSE, New York (AP) -- A school district violated a fourth-grader's constitutional rights to free speech and equal protection by refusing to allow her to distribute "personal statement" fliers carrying a religious message, a federal judge has ruled.

The Liverpool Central School District in upstate New York based its restrictions on "fear or apprehension of disturbance, which is not enough to overcome the right to freedom of expression," Chief U.S. District Judge Norman Mordue wrote in a 46-page decision Friday.

"School officials had no right to silence Michaela's personal Christian testimony," attorney Mat Staver said Monday.

Staver is executive director of Liberty Counsel, the Orlando, Florida-based conservative legal group that represented Michaela Bloodgood and her mother, Nicole.

Liverpool school district lawyer Frank Miller said the school district was studying the decision and "reviewing its options."

According to the family's 2004 lawsuit, Nicole Bloodgood tried three times to get permission for Michaela to pass out the homemade fliers to other students at Nate Perry Elementary School. The flier, about the size of a greeting card, started out: "Hi! My name is Michaela and I would like to tell you about my life and how Jesus Christ gave me a new one."

Bloodgood's requests to school officials said that her daughter, now a sixth-grader, would hand them out only during "non-instructional time," such as on the bus, before school, lunch, recess and after school.

The lawsuit noted that Michaela had received literature from other students at school, including materials for a YMCA basketball camp, a Syracuse Children's Theater promotion and Camp Fire USA's summer camps.

Liverpool officials said at the time there was "a substantial probability" that other parents and students might misunderstand and presume the district endorsed the religious statements in the flier, according to the lawsuit.

"The court cannot say the danger that children would misperceive the endorsement of religion is any greater than the danger that they would perceive a hostility toward religion as a result of the district's denial," Mordue wrote.

Nicole Bloodgood said Mordue's decision vindicated her daughter and set a strong precedent for protecting students' free speech rights.

"It's taken 2 1/2 years to get justice ... but our prayers were answered," Bloodgood said.
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Old 04-03-2007, 10:15 AM   #2
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A fourth grader's right to free speech in school? Give me a break.

Would these same families be in an uproar if a fourth grader passed out pro-life, homosexual rights, or KKK fliers?

They should if they want to argue the free speech in elementary school route.
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Old 04-03-2007, 10:19 AM   #3
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"Hi! My name is Michaela and I would like to tell you about my life and how Jesus Christ gave me a new one."
Bit young for a fourth grader to have already required 'a new life'.
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Old 04-03-2007, 12:21 PM   #4
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Bit young for a fourth grader to have already required 'a new life'.
Why?
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Old 04-03-2007, 12:41 PM   #5
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and i love how i have to answer for every person, in every Gay Pride parade, ever.

i don't care. she can do whatever she wants. and she and her family can deal with the bursts of laughter, as well as the perpetuation of stereotypes of Christians as mindless evangelizing drones, they are likely to engender.
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Old 04-03-2007, 12:49 PM   #6
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How wonderful that this little girl learned, at this young age, that she was a filthy sinner.


At least she is saved now.


Why is it appealing to some of you, to let little children live in ignorance?
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Old 04-03-2007, 12:53 PM   #7
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Why?
I imagine a fourth grader has rarely ever committed any grave sin of note to fully need some kind of redemption...much the same reason as Deep has laid out.
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Old 04-03-2007, 01:56 PM   #8
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Most fourth graders don't have a mind of their own...I'm guessing that the mother told her that she should pass out these flyers for one reason or another. If this was a middle schooler, or high schooler, I think it would be a different story, but she was in elementary school.

BVS also brings up a good point that if this girl wanted to pass out homosexual rights flyers, I'm guessing that these families would be up in arms against the little girl.
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Old 04-03-2007, 02:02 PM   #9
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i wonder what would happen if she passed around a flyer that said, "Hi! My name is Michaela and I would like to tell you about how much my mommies love me."
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Old 04-03-2007, 02:08 PM   #10
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Well is she has free speech to mention Jesus, any kid should have just as much free speech to talk about their two mommies or two daddies. The only limits I can see would involve hate/hate filled speech, threats, etc. I suppose if people took this as a license for that a court could step in and stop it.
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Old 04-03-2007, 02:09 PM   #11
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Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
Well is she has free speech to mention Jesus, any kid should have just as much free speech to talk about their two mommies or two daddies. The only limits I can see would involve hate/hate filled speech, threats, etc. I suppose if people took this as a license for that a court could step in and stop it.


i agree. she can say whatever she wants.
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Old 04-03-2007, 02:20 PM   #12
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Originally posted by onebloodonelife
Most fourth graders don't have a mind of their own...I'm guessing that the mother told her that she should pass out these flyers for one reason or another. If this was a middle schooler, or high schooler, I think it would be a different story, but she was in elementary school.

BVS also brings up a good point that if this girl wanted to pass out homosexual rights flyers, I'm guessing that these families would be up in arms against the little girl.
Exactly. Either she is a wunderkind, or her mother wrote these flyers. I don't think she got the idea to create these flyers, wrote the texts and did all the planning.

The term agenda got some fame here recently, and I think here it fits properly.
But the agenda comes from the mother, not from the girl. It's a propaganda at a place where there should be no place for propaganda, and it aims at children not old enough to comprehend this.

The parents of these children have the right to decide for their children in what they should believe, not another parent.
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Old 04-03-2007, 02:23 PM   #13
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Originally posted by Irvine511




i agree. she can say whatever she wants.
But free speech is limited on public school grounds, as it probably should be, especially in elementary school.
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Old 04-03-2007, 02:26 PM   #14
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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


But free speech is limited on public school grounds, as it probably should be, especially in elementary school.
What would you say if it were a muslim, jew, budhhist. Since they are the minority religions would you stop them from doing this also?

I though everyone had a right to free speech?
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Old 04-03-2007, 02:29 PM   #15
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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


But free speech is limited on public school grounds, as it probably should be, especially in elementary school.
'



this part seemed reasonable to me:

[q]Bloodgood's requests to school officials said that her daughter, now a sixth-grader, would hand them out only during "non-instructional time," such as on the bus, before school, lunch, recess and after school.[/q]
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