Lawsuits against SYATP.
mstern at ajcongress.org
Tue Sep 26 06:21:43 PDT 2006
The highlighted sentence (below) deserves some consideration. Clearly
teachers may interact with students at religious events away from school
(Sunday School) ,so long as they do not play off their official
positions to encourage that participation. But I think it is a much
closer question whether a school ahs either the authority or even the
obligation to prevent teachers from doing so in and around school. The
only two cases I know of -Wigg v. Sioux falls ISD in the 8th circuit and
a district court decision from NJ currently on appeal to the Third
Circuit- are to the contrary, and I think both are wrong.
When we drafted the Joint Guidelines which have been quoted on this
thread no agreement could be reached on the question of teacher
participation in meet me at the pole events.
From: religionlaw-bounces at lists.ucla.edu
[mailto:religionlaw-bounces at lists.ucla.edu] On Behalf Of Ed Brayton
Sent: Monday, September 25, 2006 11:04 PM
To: Law & Religion issues for Law Academics
Subject: Re: Lawsuits against SYATP.
Gary McCaleb wrote:
I'd say that "others" certainly includes the school officials that
attempt to suppress SYATP events. Surely, having to file suit as we did
in Freisner qualifies as a "constitutional showdown."
But so far I've not seen any evidence that any school officials have
attempted to suppress the event. All of the situations mentioned have
been of ancillary issues, not the "actual event" (to use the phrase the
blog post used). And if, as you say, most of those situations are
cleared up by a letter explaining the law, is it really an attempt to
suppress, or is it merely ignorance of the law? Seems the latter would
be a far more reasonable description of what is going on. And I don't
think it's reasonable to declare that "others" are spoiling for a
"constitutional showdown" because they think the event is
unconstitutional without actually naming someone who A) thinks the event
is unconstitutional or B) has actually attempted to stop it.
I happen to agree with you on those ancillary cases as well. That is, if
a school allows student groups to make announcements on upcoming events,
they must also allow an announcement for this event. And I certainly
would agree that teachers have just as much right to participate in the
event as students do. But those are not attempts to suppress the event
itself, they are merely misguided school officials who don't understand
the law, and none of the examples given has anything to do with
believing that the SYATP event itself is unconstitutional. This just
looks a lot like rhetorical hyperbole to me, an attempt to paint far
greater opposition than actually exists.
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