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Freedom of Religion - Part 2

A federal court in Colorado ruled that a public school policy prohibiting the distribution of "material that proselytizes a particular religious or political belief" was unconstitutional. The court observed: "The mission of public education is preparation for citizenship. High school students … must develop the ability to understand and comment on the society in which they live and to develop their own sets of values and beliefs. A school policy completely preventing students from engaging other students in open discourse on issues they deem important cripples them as contributing citizens. Such restrictions do not advance any legitimate governmental interest." The court rejected the school's claim that the policy was required in order to avoid violating the first amendment's nonestablishment of religion clause. It noted that a policy "permitting students to speak to the full extent of their consitutional rights" would have a secular purpose, and would not advance religion. Rivera v. East Otero School District, 721 F. Supp. 1189 (D. Colo. 1989).

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  • May 1, 1990

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