ADF prepared to defend students prevented from praying in ‘See You at the Pole’ event

ADF assures students they cannot be silenced, offers participants free legal support
Tuesday, September 21, 2010

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Alliance Defense Fund attorneys are ready to defend, free of charge, students who are prevented by public school officials from participating in the “See You at the Pole” event Wednesday. In preparation for this year’s nationwide event, ADF attorneys drafted a legal memo informing all “See You at the Pole” staff and participants of their legal rights and precedents that entitle them to inform people about and take part in the annual student prayer event.

“Christian students should not be prevented from peacefully expressing their beliefs outside of class time. As the U.S. Supreme Court has indicated, they don’t abandon their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate,” said ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman. “Misinformed public school officials need to understand that the First Amendment does not prevent students from promoting or participating in ‘See You at the Pole.’ Instead, it prevents officials from blocking students from doing so.”

“See You at the Pole” is an annual student-led and -organized gathering held at school flagpoles across the U.S., where students peacefully pray for their school, friends, teachers, government, and nation outside of class time. In the past, some government school officials have unconstitutionally kept students and staff from sharing about and participating in the event, often erroneously stating that the U.S. Constitution prevents such an event, even though it actually does the opposite and protects the rights of students to participate in it.

According to the ADF legal memo, “Students have a constitutional right to participate in SYATP through prayer and worship activities. Furthermore, students have an individual constitutional right to inform their fellow students about the SYATP event as long as they do not materially disrupt the academic process while doing so. In addition, if the school allows individual students or student clubs to advertise events through school bulletin boards, school PA systems, general posting of school flyers, or other means, the school cannot forbid the same means of advertising for the SYATP event.”

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.