The principal of a Pennsylvania high school violated the rights of students by preventing them from passing out Bibles during lunch, says an attorney for a legal group that specializes in religious liberty.
“In November, the students in the Bible club asked for permission to hand out Bibles to their friends in the cafeteria during non-instructional time,” Jeremy Samek, senior counsel for the Independence Law Center Senior, told WPMT/FOX-43. “And the principal of the school told them they could not hand out Bibles.”
It is not the first time the students at Cumberland County High School in Mechanicsburg, Pa., have had an issue with the principal, Samek said.
“It’s important to [the students] that the school district understands what their rights are and so all student's rights can be protected,” he said.
The Independence Law Center sent the district a letter outlining its concerns.
The school district released a statement to WPMT, saying it “respects the rights of students to express themselves and distribute materials” and also “recognizes that exercise of that right must be limited by the District’s responsibility to maintain an orderly school environment and to protect the rights of all members of the school community.”
“Accordingly,” the statement added, “students do have the right to distribution of non-school materials prior to the start of the school day and after the end of the school day if they develop a plan for time, place and manner of distribution that is reviewed and approved by the administration. We plan to investigate the claims set forth in this letter and work with the students in accordance with the law and our local policy.”
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.