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EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Ted Cruz Introduces Legislation to Redirect Unspent COVID-Relief Funds to School Security


By HENRY RODGERS, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT | July 22, 2022

Read more at https://dailycaller.com/2022/07/22/ted-cruz-legislation-prevent-school-based-violence-covid-money-randy-weber/

Photo by Nathan Howard:Getty Images 1222
Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images

Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz introduced legislation Friday that would use COVID-19 education-related funding to improve the security at schools across the U.S. The legislation, first obtained by the Daily Caller, is titled the Protect Our Children’s Schools Act and is a Senate companion to legislation introduced by Republican Texas Rep. Randy Weber. The bill would allow schools to use unspent previously appropriated Federal COVID-19 education-related funding to improve school security. The bill requires the Department of Education to make all un-obligated federal COVID relief funds that are available to the secretary of education for school safety purposes. As of May 2022, states have not spent the majority of their relief funding. Cruz’s legislation would try to improve school security in K-12 elementary and secondary schools.

“Far too many atrocities have been committed at schools in Texas and across our nation. Increasing school safety is of paramount importance. The excess and unused monies given to schools to address the coronavirus should be used to keep our kids safe from monsters in their communities, and our bill would make sure local schools can use these funds to address their specific security needs,” Cruz told the Daily Caller before introducing the legislation.

“It’s teachers and local education officials who know best what their schools need, and how to use funds to keep our kids safe when they go to school,” Cruz added. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Roger Williams Calls On Pelosi To Pass School Security Bill, Forget ‘Partisan Gun-Control Package’)

READ THE BILL HERE: 
https://www.scribd.com/embeds/583674164/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-xDR09IqgY4YiX0eQcE5W

(DAILY CALLER OBTAINED) — … by Henry Rodgers

“My district knows too well that evil people do evil things, and we know the importance of protecting our children in schools. As we approach a new school year, our children should feel safe and secure when they walk through the doors, and that’s why I introduced a commonsense bill to harden schools,” Weber told the Daily Caller before Cruz introduced his legislation. (RELATED: Ted Cruz Introduces Legislation To Send Illegal Immigrants To Martha’s Vineyard, Other ‘Democrat-Led Communities’)

“I appreciate Senator Cruz introducing the Senate version of the Protect Our Children’s Schools Act,” Weber added.

The Public Education Swamp Refuses to Learn Anything from A Year of Embarrassing Failures


REPORTED BY: ROBERT BUSEK | JUNE 08, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/06/08/the-public-education-swamp-refuses-to-learn-anything-from-a-year-of-embarrassing-failures/

school bus

Instead of welcoming self-reflection and accountability, the educational establishment and its media allies are trying to gaslight parents.

Author Robert Busek profile

ROBERT BUSEK

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The 2021-2022 school year is coming to a close. As usual, students, parents, teachers, and administrators are looking over the past year to see what worked, what didn’t, and how to improve.

This year, the educational establishment’s report card is even worse than usual. It has failed to address the learning losses due to unnecessary Covid lockdowns and inspired parental uproar over critical race theory and LGBT advocacy in the classroom. It has suffered a surprising electoral defeat in Virginia and a not-so-surprising legislative setback in Florida, as well as an unprecedented number of school board recall elections. Most damaging of all, close to 2 million students have abandoned government schooling for greener (not to mention safer) pastures.

Faced with such massive public losses, one might think a little self-reflection would be in order. Instead, the educrats, with the help of their friends in the legacy media, have decided to address these serious problems by gaslighting the American public.

Avoiding Accountability at All Costs

The most recent example of this deception comes from the continuing saga of the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) effort last fall to smear parents who complain at school board meetings as “domestic terrorists.” The now infamous letter and even more infamous Department of Justice memo that followed it represent the depths to which the educational establishment was willing to sink to protect itself from accountability to the families it theoretically serves.

A recently completed independent review exonerated the NSBA’s board from culpability in this fiasco, fixing the blame for “both the ‘origin and substance of the letter’” on former Interim Director and CEO Chip Slaven. The review also found that while unnamed members of the Biden administration “collaborated” with Slaven, it “did not find direct or indirect evidence suggesting the administration requested the letter.”

In an effort to “clear the record,” Slaven recorded an interview last week with Fox News Digital, where he whined about being “betrayed” and “completely backstabbed” by the organization that he led. He also admitted that he disagreed with the NSBA board’s futile efforts to walk back the language of the letter, claiming that “it drenched an already inflamed and out-of-control narrative with another helping of gasoline.”

Neither Slaven nor the NSBA’s announcement bothered to address the elephant in the room: that the

organization sees engaged parents and community members who attend school board meetings as potential threats that need to be watched and possibly prosecuted by federal authorities. When pressed about this during the interview, Slaven lamely defended the substance of the letter he penned by saying, “The word ‘parents’ is not in the letter anywhere,” despite the examples cited in the letter’s footnotes.

The NSBA has offered vague platitudes about “advocat[ing] for local control” and being “committed to parent engagement” as it pursues its “nonpartisan” goals. These attempts to rewrite history come as 25 state school boards have chosen “to withdraw membership, participation, or dues from NSBA.”

Meanwhile, an FBI whistleblower has claimed that “counterterrorism tools” were indeed used against parents in accordance with the DOJ’s memo. It remains unclear whether these efforts continue presently despite the NSBA’s repudiation of the letter and its alleged author.

Legacy Media Provide Covering Fire

Of course, the left-wing corporate media have gone all in to support educrats’ efforts to deceive the public into believing they remain the valiant heroes in this ongoing drama. Lately, they’ve decided to focus their attacks on a favorite target of the left: homeschooling families.

This is hardly surprising, as the number of these families at least doubled during the lockdowns of 2020-2021. What’s more, that number has been largely maintained despite schools re-opening in the fall of 2021.

On Mother’s Day, Keith Olbermann fired an opening salvo in this new campaign against educational choice when he tweeted that a homeschooling mom was “ruin[ing] the lives of five innocent children.” Not to be outdone, MSNBC columnist Anthea Butler initiated a preemptive strike against Kirk Cameron’s upcoming documentary “The Homeschool Awakening” by disingenuously linking homeschooling not just with conservative Christianity, but also with the “segregation academies” of the post-Brown v. Board of Education South.

After grudgingly admitting the recent increase in homeschooling “may [in part] be attributed to Black parents and other diverse groups who might not otherwise dare to disagree with her leftist party line, Butler ended her hatchet job with a dire warning: 

Homeschooling may have greater appeal now because of these debates and the desire for parents to play a big part in their children’s educational life. It may also arise out of pandemic concerns, but parents unfamiliar with the existing networks of homeschooling run the danger of being drawn into Christian conservative networks and theocratic teaching. [Cameron] says that people choosing homeschooling are having an awakening, but the public needs to awaken to the reality that public schools may disappear if people with his extreme beliefs have their way. 

The left’s message to parents is loud and clear: Exercise your right to homeschool your kids and you are complicit in the cold-blooded murder of public schooling.

Institutional Suicide

In these efforts, Slaven, Olbermann, Butler, and their comrades studiously deflect from the simple truth: If American government-run schools are dying, it is not a case of murder, but of suicide.

The self-inflicted wounds keep coming despite all the warning signs of the past academic year. Last month, the school district in Kiel, Wis., accused three middle schoolers of sexual harassment for failing to refer to another student by her chosen pronouns. What parent wants to go through that as a consequence of sending his kids to public schools?

Meanwhile, in Virginia, Fairfax County Public Schools is planning to adopt a policy to suspend or even expel students who “maliciously misgender” classmates. The vote, originally scheduled for May 26, has been suspiciously delayed until June 16, perhaps so the happy chaos of the last day of school will allow the board to avoid further public scrutiny and outrage.  

As kids across the nation start their summer vacations, the battle for their minds and souls rages on. True to form, the educational establishment fights dirty, using cheap manipulation tactics to distract the public from its pursuit of ideological “business as usual.”


Robert Busek is a Catholic homeschooling father of six who has taught history and Western Civilization in both traditional and online classrooms for over twenty years. His essays have also been published in The American Conservative and The American Spectator. The views he expresses here are his own.

No, Those Who Pushed Lockdowns Can’t Hide from the Consequences Now


Reported BY: JOY PULLMANN | JANUARY 11, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/01/11/the-people-who-brutalized-children-to-grab-emergency-powers-are-not-experts-theyre-evil/

Boy wearing mask while playing baseball

Americans are starting to feel the increasing collateral damage from our unprecedented, ineffective, and ill-advised Covid lockdowns. It was known before March 2020 that lockdowns would cause lifelong and avoidable damage to billions, yet the world’s ruling classes who claim to have earned their place atop a “meritocracy” strenuously demanded such damage be inflicted especially on children and other vulnerable people.

This ruling class used all their massive financial, communications, and government powers to ensure these tragic outcomes, even though anyone who was an actual expert—or, like me, just someone who reads and has common sense—predicted this false “cure” would hurt worse than the disease.

Now that people are beginning to more deeply feel the foreseeable evil consequences of ruling class responses to a novel virus, that ruling class is pulling what propaganda experts call a “limited hangout.” That’s admitting to bits of the truth in order to re-establish yourself as a credible authority while attempting to keep the whole truth hidden.

So we have outlets such as The Atlantic and The New York Times, which have throughout the Covid era worked as government butt-coverers, now publishing articles admitting that lockdowns and continued rolling blackouts of school instruction is irrevocably damaging Americans, especially children and even more especially the poorest. The kids, as I pointed out in April 2020 and numerous times thereafter, will never as a generation recover.

Now that the damage is done, major corporate media organizations have decided to pivot to acknowledge just enough of the truth to cover their complicity. The Atlantic, for example, last week published an article titled “America’s Covid Rules Are A Dumpster Fire” (It took you two years to figure out what was apparent within the first month?).

CNN’s Brian Stelter recently did a segment acknowledging the foreseeable “mental health crisis” from lockdowns that is causing suicides, ruining marriages, putting formerly perfectly normal kids into rocking fetal positions, and erasing the credibility of formerly mostly ignored “public health experts” at institutions like the Centers for Disease Control and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Stelter made multiple statements that have gotten numerous conservatives punished by and erased from social media, such as that “Covid zero is…an impossibility” and “the CDC has turned into a punchline.”

Where was Stelter a year and a half ago, when data reflecting the exact same outcomes were also plentiful? Heck, Stelter was still legitimizing Covid panic one month ago, when CNN and other news organizations reinstituted lockdown measures amid omicron panic they helped inflame. Six months ago, Stelter was indicating Fox News had “blood on its hands” for reporting less hysterically than all the other major media organizations about Covid.

Clearly, Democrats are becoming ensnared by their own trap, and they’re trying to get out with this public reversal of their messaging. The limited hangout is afoot.

Brave NYT truth-teller David Leonhardt also recently published an article and an accompanying tweetstorm on the topic.

“The number of E.R. visits for suspected suicide attempts by 12- to 17-year-old girls rose by 51 percent from early 2019 to early 2021, according to the CDC,” he tweeted.

“Data now suggest that many changes to school routines are of questionable value in controlling the virus’s spread. Some researchers are skeptical that school closures reduce Covid cases in most instances. Other interventions, like forcing students to sit apart from their friends at lunch, may also have little benefit,” he noted in the article.

No sh-t, Sherlock. So why did The New York Times run hit pieces on Trump medical advisor Scott Atlas for being one of the few scientists courageous enough to point this long-ago known data out more than a year ago, when the damage could have been mitigated? Why did Stanford University colleagues and formerly respected medical journals, boosted by corporate media attack campaigns, try to discredit Atlas and colleagues such as Dr. Jay Bhattacharya for saying things The New York Times, Atlantic, and CNN are admitting now?

Why did the CDC punish world-renowned vaccine scientist Dr. Martin Kulldorff for publicly disagreeing with them on vaccine safety? Why does Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook shadowban nearly every Federalist article on anything touching Covid-19, and why did they spend two years on massive information suppression campaigns against scientists, politicians, podcasters, and just ordinary citizens who had some questions, contrary data, and objections to elites’ demanded Covid response?

Because it was politically expedient to sacrifice science, Americans’ civil rights, human lives, and the world’s future then, and it is not politically expedient to face the consequences for that choice now. And they think nobody can or will hold them accountable for their deadly and despicable lies.

All the misery these too-late admittals underscore appears to be true, but it also could have been prevented. CNN and The New York Times not only did nothing to help prevent this kind of irreversible damage, they willingly, even gleefully, participated in this completely unwarranted mass abuse of Americans. The left lied, children committed suicide.

The corporate left’s morally abominable Covid propaganda operation demands justice. The people who could and should have known, and in fact likely did know, that lockdowns would harm millions of innocents while not protecting the vulnerable can never be trusted again.

Did any of these people tell the truth back when it could have saved the generation that comprises the world’s future? Nope. They not only watched it happen, they cheered it on and viciously ostracized all who told the truth.

All these people have erased all their moral authority and their claims to expertise. The same goes for all the education “experts” and “leaders” who didn’t spend the last two years screaming at the top of their lungs that school shutdowns are a stupid, scientifically unwarranted, and evil idea. Yes, that’s basically all of them.

Experts who knowingly allow mass child abuse because they don’t want to harm their careers are not experts, they are cowards. They deserve not one ounce of public trust or even to retain their jobs. They certainly should have no public funds nor authority over any portion of the upbringing of American children.

Not one parent or elected official should give these education and public health “experts” the time of day. In a time of dire need, these keepers of the nation’s children and controllers of billions in public funds piled American children on a funeral pyre, lit it on fire, and cheered as it burned. Requiring that they find a more honest line of work would be an act of mercy.

These “experts” and “leaders” have shown themselves to be grossly incompetent at discharging their crucial public trust and duties. They should be relieved of those duties as soon as possible. If state lawmakers will not do it, citizens must. If they do not, they are also complicit cowards and also deserve to be sanctioned and socially shamed for their willingness to sacrifice the most vulnerable for their personal comfort.

For a long time now, American parents have registered deep dissatisfaction with the public schools they feel forced to stick their kids in. Even before lockdowns, unscientific and education-damaging forced masking in schools, ridiculous repeated quarantines of healthy kids, and rolling “brownouts” of in-person schooling, polling shows most American parents wish they didn’t feel like the public schools in their ZIP code were their only option.

After all this incompetence-imposed life chaos, the current surge of parent outrage at local school board meetings is only the tip of the spear. As more evidence emerges of the unnecessary harms we knew beforehand would result from lockdowns, public anger will only grow. It won’t be limited to schools, either.

If more exciting school board meetings, primaries for craven politicians, and parents yanking funding from schools that don’t serve them are what it takes to run every one of these moral cretins out of every position of power they’ve abused throughout their careers, then go, Americans, go. Do it for the kids. Our future will remember who stood up for the truth, lives, and liberties, and who made billions of precious humans needlessly suffer.


Joy Pullmann is executive editor of The Federalist, a happy wife, and the mother of six children. Her bestselling ebook is “Classic Books for Young Children.” Sign up here to get early access to her next book, “How To Control The Internet So It Doesn’t Control You.” Mrs. Pullmann identifies as native American and gender natural. She is also the author of “The Education Invasion: How Common Core Fights Parents for Control of American Kids,” from Encounter Books. In 2013-14 she won a Robert Novak journalism fellowship for in-depth reporting on Common Core national education mandates. Joy is a grateful graduate of the Hillsdale College honors and journalism programs.

Wisconsin Parent Goes After Kenosha School District For Illegally Barring Her From Observing Son’s Class


Reported By Kylee Zempel | NOVEMBER 4, 2021

Read more at https://www.conservativereview.com/wisconsin-parent-goes-after-kenosha-school-district-for-illegally-barring-her-from-observing-sons-class-2655493252.html/

If there’s one lesson to be learned from the red sweep in Virginia this week, it’s that politicians, schools boards, and education administrators shouldn’t mess with parents, especially on the well-being of their children. Many more school districts across other states still have to learn this lesson, and to that end, one Wisconsin parent is enlisting the help of attorneys to go after her son’s public school.

On Wednesday, counsel for the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) sent a letter to the school district of Kenosha, the scene of violent riots last summer and the site of the ongoing trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, threatening legal action if the Kenosha Unified School District does not allow a concerned parent to observe her son’s class as required by federal law.

It started when the mother of a student at the Kenosha School of Technology Enhanced Curriculum, a public charter school, became concerned about her son’s dropping grades. According to WILL, the student had reported a bevy of classroom disruptions that contributed to his struggle, including fighting, profanities, racial epithets, and property damage, as well as a new math curriculum that does not involve homework nor a textbook.

In September, the mom decided to take action, figuring the best way to help her son succeed would be to observe and understand his learning environment. She requested access to see his classroom for herself, but both the school district and the school reportedly denied her requests multiple times, giving her inconsistent rationale as to why she couldn’t enter.

For instance, Bill Haithcock, the chief of school leadership for the district, allegedly told the mother that an in-person observation by her would serve “no educational program,” ignoring the school’s charter contract, which says, “Parents are important partners in the educational program at KTEC.” Haithcock reportedly further noted that he didn’t think it was the “best idea right now” to “expos[e] the class to an outside visitor.”

However, as the WILL letter notes, the district’s policies and social media pages indicate that many other types of visitors such as mentors, chaperones, and nonprofits are welcomed.

Other times, the school district allegedly told the mother that as a parent, she was “not connected to the educational curriculum” and that allowing her to visit the classroom would open the floodgates of other parents wanting to observe. WILL hopes Kenosha schools change course and “view parents as partners in the education of children.”

According to federal law signed by the Obama administration in 2015, these denials are illegal, as WILL argues in its letter. Under the Every Student Succeeds Act, public schools must have systems in place that involve parents in educational settings, meaning the Kenosha district must have a policy that grants parents the “observation of classroom activities.”

This is just the tip of the iceberg of parents’ rights in their children’s education. They also have a right to access curriculum, see progress reports, engage in communication with staff, schedule yearly parent-teacher conferences, and participate in their kid’s classes.

The Kenosha school district does have policies in place for parent involvement and “classroom visits,” yet it has so far stonewalled this concerned parent.

In response to The Federalist’s request for comment, the Kenosha Unified School District’s Chief Communications Officer Tanya Ruder said, “KUSD is aware of the WILL letter and is working with legal counsel to review the matter at hand.” The Kenosha School of Technology Enhanced Curriculum did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

WILL said it hopes Kenosha schools change course and “view parents as partners in the education of children.”

“Public school classrooms should not be a ‘black box.’ Parents have the right to know what is being taught in classrooms,” said WILL Deputy Counsel Dan Lennington.

This controversy over whether parents are partners in their children’s education or whether they should be staying out of schools has shown to have remarkable electoral significance this week, especially in the Virginia gubernatorial race. After candidate and former governor Terry McAuliffe said, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach” and doubled down on keeping parental involvement out of public schools, Republican candidate and parent advocate Glenn Youngkin won the race in the same state President Joe Biden won by 10+ points just one year ago.

“Federal and state laws impose simple and straightforward transparency requirements on public schools such as allowing parents to sit in on classes and the right to view curriculum,” Lennington told The Federalist. “But if public schools continue to treat parents as adversaries by concealing what’s going on inside school buildings, they face the real risk of an electoral backlash, like we just saw in Virginia.”

Kylee Zempel is an assistant editor at The Federalist. Follow her on Twitter @kyleezempel.

HE’S BACK FROM VACATION. Here are Today’s TWO Politically INCORRECT Cartoons by A.F. Branco


A.F. Branco Cartoon – Pawn Stars

Science says that kids are better off in school but the teachers union prefer to play politics and use the kids as pawns.

COVID School KidsPolitical cartoon by A.F. Branco ©2020.

A.F. Branco Cartoon – The Anti-Deplorables

Antifa, Black Lives Matter, Anarchy, and the Democrats are teaming up to destroy America with the help of the Marxist-Mainstream propaganda media.

Democrat Brothers at ArmsPolitical cartoon by A.F. Branco ©2020.
Donations/Tips accepted and appreciated –  $1.00 –  $25.00 – $50.00 – $100 –  it all helps to fund this website and keep the cartoons coming. Also Venmo @AFBranco – THANK YOU!

A.F. Branco has taken his two greatest passions, (art and politics) and translated them into the cartoons that have been popular all over the country, in various news outlets including “Fox News”, MSNBC, CBS, ABC and “The Washington Post.” He has been recognized by such personalities as Dinesh D’Souza, James Woods, Sarah Palin, Larry Elder, Lars Larson, Rush Limbaugh, and has had his toons tweeted by President Trump.

“What Did You Say?” The Idiocy continues to Grow Unchecked


Kerry: Boy With Severed Head ‘Should Be in School’

Read more at http://joeforamerica.com/2014/08/kerry-boy-severed-head-school/#COSWRbXqQhgPzk0i.99

Posted by Tad Cronn on Aug 13, 2014

A photo has emerged of a young apparently on a trip to the Middle East, holding up a severed human head for his proud terrorist father.

The photo was published in the Australian press to illustrate the problem of Australian Muslims going to the Middle East for terror training and the danger of them then returning home to carry out the Islamist agenda.

john-kerrySecretary of State John Kerry — at a press conference with U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, and Australian Minister of Defense David Johnston — denounced the photo, saying, “That child should be in school. That child should be out learning about a future. That child should be playing with other kids, not holding a severed head and out in the field of combat.”boy

Ya think?

I do get what Kerry is trying to say, even if he said it in the lamest way possible. The problem, though, is that the kid is in school and learning about a future — but it’s an Islamist school and an Islamist future that the world’s terrorist Muslims want for the entire human race.

The problem isn’t that the boy isn’t in school, it’s that the boy is the face of modern Islam — a little cherub bringing a human sacrifice to the altar of Allah.

Right now, that movement is most strongly represented by what the media have taken to calling the Islamic State.

It’s the ISIS caliphate.

I’ve said in other writings that the world has not yet come to terms with the full impact of ISIS’s declaration of the first caliphate in nearly a hundred years on Obama’s watch.

ConfusedPresident Obama’s foreign policy has cleared the way for ISIS to declare the caliphate, another major embarrassment added to the Obama legacy.

But far more importantly, the caliphate is a beacon that will draw Islamist fighters to it, representing the hope of empire in a way that no mere Muslim nation has done or can do. Merely establishing the concept of a caliphate as a reality conjures visions of the conquest of Byzantium, the career of Saladin and the victories of the warlord Mohammed himself. A caliphate, to the Muslim mind, once more puts the ghost of the Holy Roman Empire and the entire West at the mercy of Muslim swords.

The news from the Middle East bears out this analysis, as U.S. officials are seeing Islamist fighters abandoning al-Qaida and other Muslim Brotherhood offshoots to swear allegiance to the caliphate, which has far more money and ambition than any mere terror group. The caliphate plots to take all of Iraq, Syria and any other country it can get its hands on, then it is coming for Europe and the United States.

Multiple reports indicate that Islamists from Western countries are being trained and shipped back to their homes, including the United States, to carry out whatever plots the caliphate can concoct. Given the strength and vision of ISIS, it’s likely that such enemy agents won’t just be looking at the usual “blow up and party” attacks but at long-term subversion of liberty and democracy.

“We have evidence that there are a significant number of Australian citizens Obama defending muslims Twowho are taking part in activities in Iraq and parts of Syria, extremist activities and terrorist activities,” Bishop said at the press conference with Kerry. “Our fear is that they will return home to Australia as hardened, homegrown terrorists and seek to continue their work here in Australia.”

The same goes for the U.S., where the Border Patrol has caught numerous terror suspects trying to sneak across the border but untold numbers have gotten through. To illustrate the point, investigative filmmaker this week dressed up as Osama bin Laden and crossed unhindered from Mexico into the United States this week.

Still venting over the photograph of the child with the severed head, Kerry said, “This is utterly disgraceful, and it underscores the degree to which ISIL (ISIS) is, you know, so far beyond the pale with respect to any standard by which we judge even terrorist groups. …”

He’s not wrong, but Kerry still seems to not be coming to grips with the full reality here.

The word you’re looking for, John, is “evil.” That’s what ISIS and the entire Islamist movement is, and until the U.S. accepts that and acts accordingly, we’re all at their mercy.

Wake up America Article collective closing

 

Successful Defense of First Amendment Rights


Student’s First Amendment Rights Violated by School Says U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

The Pocono Mountain School District believes elementary school students should have their First Amendment rights greatly limited.

In December 2010, a fifth grade girl at Barrett Elementary Center in Cresco, Pennsylvania went to school carrying flyers for a Christmas party at her church.  Although other students have passed out flyers and invitations to other out-of-school events like scouting and various clubs, school officials stopped the girl from handing out her flyers because it contained elements of religious faith.  The Pocono Mountain School District stood behind the school’s decision, claiming they have a policy that forbids anything being handed out that mentions religious faith in any fashion.

In March of 2011, Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit against Pocono Mountain School District on behalf of the student, claiming that her First Amendment rights of free speech had been violated.  The school district not only cited their policies but argued before the court that elementary students are young enough to have their First Amendment rights greatly limited.

A lower court heard the case and ruled that the school had indeed violated the student’s First Amendment rights.  The school district appealed the case to the Third US Circuit Court of Appeals who just issued a ruling that backs up the lower court’s decision that the school district did in fact violate the student’s First Amendment rights.  The Appeal Court also ruled that the two policies the school used as their defense were unconstitutional when applied in this form of student expression.  In their decision, the court wrote:

“It is difficult to identify a constitutional justification for cabining the First Amendment protections … to older students.  The fact that [the student] was only in the fifth-grade and the invitation originated from her church does not mandate a different approach.”

David Cortman, Senior Legal Counsel for ADF who filed the original lawsuit on behalf of the student, commented about the latest ruling:

“In this day and age, when our younger students are subject to so much that comes from both the school district and outside sources, it’s certainly important that they’re able to speak about their own faith and not be subject to censorship for it.”

“In this case, the school district tried to argue that for some reason the Constitution doesn’t apply to younger students, but the court rejected that theory – and that’s certainly good for all students.”

This is not the first time that a school district trampled on a student’s First Amendment rights only to have the courts rule in favor of the student.  The Candy Cane Case from Plano, Texas, was fairly similar to this one and ended with a similar court ruling in favor of the student.

If you find that your child’s school is bullying them about their Christian faith, church or the like, check into it and if need be contact someone like Alliance Defending Freedom.  Schools must be stopped and taught that they are not as powerful and privileged as they think they are.  If you don’t take action, the school will continue to bully other kids and violate their First Amendment rights, so you owe it not only to your child, but all of the others as well.

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