The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal on behalf of a Michigan student who sought to distribute Christian messages to his fellow public school students as part of a school assignment.
The justices refused to review the appeal by the parents of Joel Curry, who was a 5th grader in 2003 when he sought to distribute cards and candy-cane-shaped Christmas ornaments as part of a class assignment on marketing a product at the Handley School in Saginaw, Mich.
The principal would not allow the student to sell the ornaments and cards at the student marketing event because the event was considered instructional time and the cards’ religious content was deemed inappropriate. Joel’s parents sued the Saginaw district and the principal, alleging that Joel’s First Amendment free expression rights were violated. A federal appeals court ruled last January that the principal did not violate the student’s rights.
The Supreme Court refused without comment to hear the family’s appeal in Curry v. Hensinger (Case No. 08-190).
A version of this article appeared in the January 07, 2009 edition of Education Week