Advocates is consulting with a Massachusetts student who gifted a Bible to the school’s library book donation program only to have campus officials reject it. Through the program, students who donate a book to the library on their birthday are recognized at the school assembly. The child decided to donate a pictorial version of the Bible as his gift.
After consulting with us, the child’s parents are meeting with school officials in hopes to settle the dispute out of court. One of their resources for the discussion is an Advocates case from last year in which officials with the Temecula Valley School District reversed an earlier decision preventing second-grader Victoria Nelson from donating a Bible at her school. The Nelson family contacted us saying that the district and school had not only rejected the Bible, but also their daughter.
In that case, Advocates intervened by writing a nine-page letter to the district explaining that the Establishment Clause “mandates governmental neutrality” not only among different religions, but also “between religion and non-religion.” The demand letter pointed out that rejecting the Bible donation was tantamount to sending a message of disapproval toward religion.”
Not only did the principal apologize to Victoria, but she was also allowed to share her donation at a school assembly. You can read more about the Nelson case here.
Whether it’s incidental or deliberate, public schools across the country are increasingly quashing the rights of students to practice their First Amendment rights of free speech and freedom of religion. As demonstrated by these cases, Advocates for Faith & Freedom is committed to protecting these unalienable rights, no matter where in the United States the infractions occur.