L.W. v. Knox County Board of Education resource page

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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

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ADF continues to fight for elementary student barred from reading Bible at recess

Appeal asks for new trial, reversal of verdict against former 4th-grade student
Wednesday, October 06, 2010

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed a notice of appeal Tuesday in the ongoing battle for a public school student who was prohibited from reading and discussing the Bible during recess. ADF is appealing a jury verdict against the student and a court order that denied his request for a new trial.

ADF attorneys filed suit against the Knox County Board of Education in June 2005 on behalf of then-4th-grade student and his parents. His trial took place in October of last year.

“Christian students shouldn’t be prohibited from reading and discussing their Bibles at public schools during non-instructional time,” said ADF Senior Counsel Nate Kellum.  “That continues to be our primary concern in this case. The Constitution does not prohibit Bibles during recess; it prohibits the banning of Bibles during recess.”

During the Spring 2005 semester, the 10-year-old and a few other students read their Bibles and discussed them together on the grounds of Karns Elementary School during non-instructional time at recess.  After an unnamed parent complained about the students, the school’s principal ordered a teacher to put a stop to the student-led Bible discussion.

Karns Elementary School and Knox County School District officials have enforced a policy that prohibits students from reading and discussing the Bible during recess, which the officials contend is not “free time.”

Charles Pope, of Athens, Tenn., one of more than 1,800 attorneys in the ADF alliance, is serving as local counsel in the lawsuit L.W. v. Knox County Board of Education, which is being appealed from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.