A Michigan high school student has filed a federal lawsuit against his school after he was suspended for three days for sharing his Christian beliefs with another student in a school hallway and during a private text conversation off school property. ‘school.
The Great Lakes Justice Centera nonprofit religious rights law firm representing Plainwell High School junior David Stout filed a lawsuit naming the Plainwell Community Schools District the principal and vice-principal of Plainwell High School , as well as the two band directors of the school as defendants.
According to court documentsStout shared “his Christian beliefs about heterosexual/homosexual conduct in a series of private text messages with another child. The communication did not take place on school grounds or on campus, with the property of the school, at a school-sponsored event or field trip, nor was it related to school functions in any way.”
School officials also reportedly punished Stout for failing to monitor and report other students’ inappropriate jokes and ordered the teenager to stop posting his religious comments on all of his social media platforms.
Additionally, he was also disciplined for offensive behavior by others, which he did not participate in and was unaware of, during a football match last October.
Stout’s complaint alleges that the school exceeded the law in the following ways:
- Violating his or her First Amendment constitutional rights to free speech and the free exercise of religion;
- Violate his Michigan Constitutional rights;
- Create policies that are unconstitutionally vague and unenforceable;
- Going beyond the limits of Matt Epling School Safety Law by attempting “to control or punish speech or expression that does not occur ‘in school'”.
In his lawsuit, Stout seeks a declaration that the school district violated his constitutional rights. The complaint seeks the cancellation of the disciplinary measure in his school file, the payment of damages and attorney’s fees.
“My client’s speech and religious beliefs should be treated with tolerance and respect. Public schools cannot violate the Constitution and impose a rowdy veto on student speech,” said David A. Kallman, senior legal counsel at the Great Lakes Justice Center, in a statement.
“Nothing David did caused any disruption or trouble at school. He has the right to express his opinion in accordance with his sincere religious beliefs, without defamation or punishment from the government for adhering to these beliefs. The Great Lakes Justice Center will defend our client’s freedoms to the fullest extent permitted by law,” Kallman continued.
Stout’s father, David J. Stout, said, “We always taught our son to respect everyone’s opinion and be polite to others, just like he was here. However, tolerance is a two-way street. express their faith and beliefs without being disciplined and suspended by Plainwell schools. We hope that the court will respect David’s constitutional rights and that his school record will be expunged.
CBN News has reached out to Plainwell Community Schools for comment. District spokeswoman Elizabeth Gallagher responded to our request in an email saying “Due to ongoing litigation, we are unable to comment at this time.”
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