SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Alliance Defense Fund attorneys have reached a settlement with the Dixon R-1 School District that will allow students to display pro-life fliers and posters. ADF filed suit against the district in February after Dixon High School officials removed posters promoting the Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity but allowed them for other student activities and expression.
“Public schools should encourage, not shut down, the free exchange of ideas,” said ADF Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “Students should not be marginalized just because their pro-life views may not line up with school politics. The school district should be commended for agreeing to respect the rights of its students under the First Amendment. Public schools are more likely to succeed when the freedom of ideas is allowed.”
School officials had prohibited the student-sponsored pro-life event’s materials but did not ban other student communications, including a variety of non-curricular material such as photographs of students looking like zombies; announcements promoting the Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network’s Day of Silence; and posters with political and anti-drug messages.
After ADF filed suit, the school district revised its policies and has agreed to allow students to post religious and pro-life material along with other materials at locations designated by school officials.
“Public school officials cannot pick and choose what messages they are going to allow based on which viewpoints they prefer,” said ADF Litigation Counsel Matt Sharp. “The new policy revisions ensure that this type of unconstitutional discrimination will no longer occur.”
In light of the policy revisions, ADF filed a voluntary dismissal of the case, J.A. v. Dixon R-1 School District, on May 31 with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Southern Division.
Springfield attorney Douglas Fredrick, one of nearly 2,100 attorneys in the ADF alliance, served as local counsel in the case.
- Pronunciation guide: Tedesco (Tuh-DESS’-ko)
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.