For the last three years, high-school senior Chase Windebank has been meeting with other students during a designated free period to discuss their Christian faith, pray and even sing together.
But on Sept. 29, the assistant principal of Pine Creek High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado, told the students it has to stop because it violates the “separation of church and state.”
Religious discussion gatherings, the school insists, can only take place before or after school hours.
Now, with the help of attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom, or ADF, Windebank is suing the school to lift the ban and restore what he says are protected First Amendment rights.
“Far from being unconstitutional, religious speech is expressly protected by the First Amendment,” says ADF Legal Counsel Matt Sharp, “and public schools have no business stopping students from praying together during their free time.”
“Public schools should encourage the free exchange of ideas,” adds ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “Instead, this school implemented an ill-conceived ban that singles out religious speech for censorship during free time.”
The controversy swirls around use of the “Seminar” period, a 40-minute window when students with adequate grades are permitted a degree of free time during the school day.
Written by DREW ZAHN
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