The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington has upheld the right of a student to hand out gospel tracts to his fellow students, overturning the student’s suspension and ruling that the school’s requirement that anything handed out must be created by the student himself to be unconstitutional.
A federal court ruling clears the way for a local teen to continue sharing a religious message on his school’s campus.
Michael Leal filed a lawsuit against Everett Public Schools after they tried to stop him from preaching and passing out religious booklets…
The district eventually told Leal he could share his message in a “free speech” area at school, but said if he wanted to pass out literature he had to write it himself and only distribute it before and after school and at campus entrances and exits…The judge ruled Leal could continue to pass out the brochures, but also said the district could limit where and when he does that. Leal’s attorneys say this decision protects students across the country.
This is the correct result. Students have every right to distribute literature to their schoolmates, whether the message is religious or not, within reasonable limits (it can’t be done during class time, for instance). This is a long-established legal principle. The same would apply if it were an SSA club handing out literature.