PHOENIX — Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund have filed an amended complaint in federal court against the Deer Valley Unified School District and have also filed a motion to suspend unconstitutional policies within the district while the lawsuit moves forward.
“Christians shouldn’t be discriminated against for expressing their beliefs. The government cannot treat people with non-religious viewpoints more favorably than people with religious viewpoints,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman. “As the U.S. Supreme Court has stated, students do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate.”
In addition to new facts, the updated complaint adds the school district’s literature distribution policy to the unconstitutional restrictions on student free speech named in the original complaint.
On Jan. 30, ADF attorneys filed suit against the school district after Mountain Ridge High School officials denied a Christian student club’s request for a morning announcement over the PA system. The announcement invited students to attend a prayer meeting during non-instructional time. School officials prohibited the announcement because it contained the word “prayer.”
Further investigation revealed that the school district also prohibited the club from distributing literature during non-instructional time if it contained a religious symbol, and that these decisions were arbitrary and specifically targeted to silence religious speech. The district’s literature distribution policy unconstitutionally allows school officials to approve and reject the distribution of flyers and other literature according to their own discretion without any boundaries.
ADF is a legal alliance defending the right to hear and speak the Truth through strategy, training, funding, and litigation.