A federal court will hear the case of a high school student who was silenced by school officials during her valedictorian speech for referring to her Christian faith, Cybercast News Service reported.
Brittany McComb filed suit against officials at Foothill High School in Henderson, after school administrators switched off her microphone when she began to speak about Christ during her valedictorian speech on June 15, 2006.
Judge Robert C. Jones rejected the school's motion to dismiss the case, in a decision on Monday, ensuring it will be heard before a federal court.
"We're pleased that the court recognizes the validity of Brittany McComb's claims," John Whitehead, president of the Virginia-based Rutherford Institute representing McComb, said in a statement. "This is an important first step in protecting Brittany's right to free speech."
Whitehead told CNS news earlier that McComb was not seeking damages, but wanted the court to declare the school's actions unconstitutional.
School officials had previously edited her speech to remove Biblical references and one mention of the name of Jesus Christ, warning her she would be interrupted if she deviated from the approved text.
McComb refused to be silenced, speaking about the love of God as "something we all desire. It's unprejudiced, it's merciful, it's free, it's real, it's hug, and it's everlasting." At that point school officials switched off her microphone.
The school district's legal counsel, Bill Hoffman, said McComb's words counted as preaching. He told media, "We review the speeches and tell them they may not proselytize."
"I went through four years of school at Foothill and they taught me logic and they taught me freedom of speech," McComb stated to media after the incident. "God's the biggest part of my life. Just like other valedictorians thank their parents, I wanted to thank my Lord and Savior."