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Christian fliers no longer banned, Maricopa School District settles suit

ADF lawsuit challenging unconstitutional policies successful

PHOENIX — Maricopa Unified School District officials have changed the district’s literature distribution policy and now allows equal treatment of Christian groups on campus.  Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed suit in July after a church and its pastor were told that they would not be permitted to distribute their fliers to students.  The previous district policy had allowed a wide array of nonprofit organizations to distribute literature, but targeted religious material for exclusion.

"Christians shouldn’t be discriminated against for expressing their beliefs," said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman.  "We appreciate the school district’s decision to do the right thing.  The district recognized that the First Amendment is clear and that federal court precedent is overwhelmingly in favor of equal treatment for religious speech."

School officials told Pastor Jim Johnson that his church, First Baptist Church of Maricopa, would not be allowed to distribute fliers for its Awana Journey 24 Club, a weekly Bible study program for high school students, because the fliers’ religious content and viewpoint were prohibited in the district’s flier distribution program.  Shortly after ADF filed suit, the district reversed course, allowing the Awana fliers to be distributed.

The school district formalized its literature distribution policy change Dec. 17, ending expressly discriminatory treatment of religious speech and speakers and granting them equal access to MUSD’s literature distribution forum. 

"The district deserves credit for doing the constitutionally correct thing," said ADF Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. "The decision to modify the policy is a victory for the First Amendment rights of all students and religious groups who merely asked for equal treatment."

The voluntary dismissal brings the lawsuit First Baptist Church of Maricopa v. Maricopa Unified School District No. 20 to an end.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith.  Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.


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David A. Cortman
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.
Jeremy Tedesco
Jeremy Tedesco
Senior Counsel, Senior Vice President of Corporate Engagement
Jeremy Tedesco serves as senior counsel and senior vice president of communications for Alliance Defending Freedom.