Published Online: October 4, 2011
Published in Print: October 5, 2011, as Court Rules Young Students Have Religious-Speech Rights

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Court Rules Young Students Have Religious-Speech Rights

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A full federal appeals court has ruled that elementary school students have First Amendment rights to discuss religion with their classmates.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, in New Orleans, held last week that two school principals in Plano, Texas, likely violated the rights of two students who were barred from distributing items such as religious-themed candy canes to fellow students.

"We hold that the First Amendment protects all students from viewpoint discrimination against private, nondisruptive, student-to-student speech," Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod wrote in her opinion, joined by nine of the 16 participating judges. The ruling applied to two out of several incidents in the lawsuit.

Vol. 31, Issue 06, Page 5

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