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Supreme Court of the United States

B.H. v. Garcia

Last Updated: 6/2/2020

Overview

What's at stake

  • The freedom of students to share their religious beliefs at school without fear of censorship or punishment.
  • The freedom of students to use religious songs or materials in school talent shows.

Summary

Brian Hickman loved to sing and perform to Christian music--something he had learned to do at church. So when his elementary school announced auditions for an upcoming talent show, Brian saw the perfect opportunity to showcase his love for performing. He chose to perform movements to the song, "We Shine." But after auditioning for the talent show, the school principal called Brian's mother to explain that Brian had to pick a different song. The principal claim the song said "Jesus" too many times and that it would be offensive to people. Yet the school found nothing objectionable in other songs that were approved for the elementary school show, including songs discussing teenage "love," relationship problems, suggestive dancing, and violent imagery. With the talent show just days away, Brian's family called Alliance Defending Freedom for help.

Brian filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Unified School District -- one of the largest in the country -- challenging the censorship of his talent. Within days, the school reversed course and announced that Brian would be permitted to perform his religious song. 

Building upon victories like this, Alliance Defending Freedom continues to fight for students such as Brian who are told that their religious expression is not welcome inside the schoolhouse gates.  

Our role in this case

Alliance Defending Freedom represented Brian in the defense of his rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

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Resources

Legal Documents

Court
Title
Date
{"docs": [{"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "Complaint", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/b.h.-v.-garcia/b-h-v-garcia---complaint.pdf", "Date": "10/26/2017 10:32:13 PM"}, {"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "Voluntary dismissal", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/b.h.-v.-garcia/b-h-v-garcia---voluntary-dismissal.pdf", "Date": "10/26/2017 10:32:13 PM"}]}

Biographies

David A. Cortman

Senior Counsel, Vice President of U.S. Litigation

David A. Cortman serves as senior counsel and vice president of U.S. litigation with Alliance Defending Freedom.

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