ADF: Students free to participate in ‘Bring Your Bible to School Day’

Legal memo outlines constitutionally protected freedoms of students
Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Attorney sound bites:  Jeremy Tedesco  |  Matt Sharp

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Alliance Defending Freedom is making available a legal memo that explains and reinforces the First Amendment freedom of students to participate in “Bring Your Bible to School Day” on Thursday. The event, sponsored by Focus on the Family, encourages participating students to bring their Bibles to school and discuss it with their fellow classmates during non-instructional time.

“Christian students don’t abandon their constitutionally protected freedoms at the schoolhouse gate,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “Their freedom to express their beliefs includes the right to bring their Bible to school, to read it during their free time, and to engage in other activities as part of ‘Bring Your Bible to School Day.’”

“Federal courts have repeatedly upheld the rights of students to bring their Bibles to school, to distribute Bibles at school, and to discuss the Bible at school during non-instructional time,” the ADF memo explains. “Just as the Bring Your Bible to School event itself is protected, so also is student expression advertising the event.”

“The Supreme Court has stated that public schools cannot restrict religious speech simply because it may be perceived by some as ‘offensive’ or ‘controversial,’” the memo continues. “The Supreme Court has squarely stated that a student’s free speech rights apply ‘when [they are] in the cafeteria, or on the playing field, or on the campus during the authorized hours.’”

“There’s no legitimate basis for public school officials to prohibit students from engaging in this type of religious expression,” added ADF Legal Counsel Matt Sharp. “We hope our legal memo clarifies the freedom of students to participate in this event. We’re available free of charge to students, parents, and schools to provide legal guidance on exactly these types of First Amendment issues.”

  • Pronunciation guide: Tedesco (Tuh-DESS’-koh)

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

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