Caylin, an 8th grade student at a Corona-Norco public school, was reprimanded and threatened with consequences after passing out a flier to schoolmates before school began warning her fellow students of the new “co-ed bathroom and locker room bill.” This controversy arises as referendum petitions are being
circulated for signatures in order to repeal AB 1266, a new California law that allows public school students to use opposite-sex restrooms and locker rooms, and also allows students to play on opposite-sex athletic teams.
On the morning of October 21, 2013, Caylin was standing outside in the lunch area at 7:00 a.m. (before school started) distributing a flier warning students of this newly adopted law that affects students’ privacy rights. Since school had not yet started, students were talking with friends and waiting for the school bell to ring. As Caylin was handing out eighteen fliers to friends and school acquaintances, a school security officer came over and asked if she was responsible for distributing the fliers. Caylin informed the officer that she was and he told her to report to the principal’s office.
Once in the principal’s office, Principal Dade told her she could not hand out political fliers because it was against the law. Principal Dade asked Caylin who told her to distribute the fliers. Caylin informed Principal Dade that she decided to do it on her own after learning about the new law from church. Principal Dade replied that Caylin’s church “should be ashamed for making her do this [distribute fliers].” Caylin informed Principal Dade that no one told her to do it. Principal Dade threatened Caylin that she would face consequences if any parents called to complain.
Advocates for Faith & Freedom intervened on behalf of Caylin, sending a letter to the school’s Principal and Superintendent detailing the reasons their policy is unconstitutional. We requested that Caylin be allowed to distribute her fliers and that the school respond, or we would be forced to take legal action.
Long ago, the United States Supreme Court ruled that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” We at Advocates take this idea of students’ rights very seriously.
Our General Counsel, Robert Tyler, stated, “Censorship of a student based on a ‘24 hour’ notice requirement is unconstitutional.” He further stated, “Students have the right to express their opinions on controversial subjects, and even warn other students of new laws that threaten their personal privacy.”
In the afternoon on October 29, 2013, the school district relented in writing and agreed to allow Caylin to resume her distribution of fliers that warn of the “co-ed bathroom and locker room bill.” Caylin plans to continue passing out the fliers each day at school.
Christy, the mother of Caylin said, “All parents of public school students should be outraged at this bill. I was very surprised when the school wanted to silence my daughter rather than let her be a voice for herself and all students whose privacy is being threatened by this bill.”
Please keep us in your prayers as we continue to defend the freedom of students like Caylin, who wish to express themselves, their faith, and their ideas at the place where they spend a good majority of their time at this age…their schools.