Parents sue California school district over ‘bring your Bible to school' day
A school district in Huntington Beach faced lawsuit after a school stopped two of its students from distributing fliers promoting Bring Your Bible to School Day.
A Los Angeles-based Christian group, named Freedom X, filed a federal lawsuit against Huntington Beach City School District on behalf of the parents of two students, 10-year-old Micah Bausch and his 8-year-old brother, Nieka.
The Bausch brothers were distributing the fliers about Bring Your Bible to School Day at John R. Peterson Elementary School when they were prohibited.
Bring Your Bible to School Day is an annual nationwide event, which is sponsored by Focus on the Family, a Christian group. The event aims at inspiring children to share their faith with their friends by bringing Bibles to school.
Freedom X alleged that the school violated the First Amendment rights of the two students by stopping them from distributing the fliers. The school has restricted their right to free speech, the lawsuit claims.
Bill Becker, who is the president of Freedom X and the attorney representing the Bausch family, said, “I’m curious why schools think religious speech can be censored. To discriminate based on religious content is a violation of the First Amendment.”
He added that such behavior is “typical” of school administrators who do not understand the First Amendment.
Meanwhile, school district authorities responded by claiming that the students had their full permission to distribute the fliers before and after school. This is standard for distribution of any kind of information-bearing fliers.
According to Gregg Haulk, District Superintendent, the lawsuit “surprised and disappointed” him. He explained that the distribution of fliers is prohibited only during instructional time, which includes class hours, recess, and lunchtimes.
However, the mother of the two students, Holly Bausch, insisted that recess and lunchtime should not be included as instructional time.
“To me, it doesn’t seem like kids get instruction during lunch and recess,” she said. “Why is that considered instructional time? My kids go to daycare before and after school. So, lunch and recess are the only times when they would’ve had time to distribute the fliers.”
Holly Bausch, Daily Bulletin, January 11, 2019
The school district does not have any problem with Bring Your Bible to School Day, Haulk further clarified. He also reassured that the content of the flier was appropriate and the students were not prohibited because of it.
Recently, a group of Christian students at a Pennsylvania high school was also prohibited from handing out Bibles to their friends during lunchtime.
The students later warned the school about filing a lawsuit against their action, claiming that the ban on Bible distribution was unconstitutional.
In a similar incident, an elementary school principal in Elkhorn, Nebraska also made headlines after banning candy canes from her school because it represents Jesus Christ.