A Washington federal judge has ordered that a high school student’s record be expunged after the student was suspended for his evangelistic efforts on campus.
Michael Leal, a senior at Cascade High School, was suspended in 2014 for sharing his faith with other students. He gave out biblical literature and sometimes preached at school events.
In early September 2014, Leal gave out copies of “How to Know God” during the lunch period. He was taken to the principal’s office and warned that his actions could be offensive.
The next month, Leal handed out tracts during the school’s “bonfire bash.” He also preached until the principal asked him to stop. He did not and the next day he was suspended.
Leal was then told he could be expelled if he continued his activities, which the school called a “disruption.”
The Pacific Justice Institute then filed a lawsuit over the matter and the district responded by creating a “free speech zone.”
Last week, U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilly ruled that the punishments on Leal’s record must be removed from his record and that the district’s policy that materials must be “written and/or produced by students” is unconstitutional.
“Today’s win is a well-deserved graduation present to our client,” PJI President Brad Dacus told reporters. “He should not have been suspended for simply handing other students gospel tracts, and today’s ruling is a vindication of our efforts on his behalf.”
Publication date: June 4, 2015