Pro-Family Group Wants Michigan Schools' Speech Code Amended
by Rusty Pugh
(AgapePress) – A family values group is warning a Michigan school district to drop its unconstitutional restrictions on student free speech rights.
An Ann Arbor Public Schools speech code that prohibits students from expressing religious or other viewpoints merely because their views may be deemed “offensive” by another student violates the core principles of the First Amendment, says Gary Glenn of the American Family Association of Michigan.
Glenn, President of AFA-Michigan, sent a letter to the school district, warning them that their policy is at odds with a February decision by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that struck down a similar school policy in Pennsylvania.
“We’re specifically concerned about the high-risk health hazard associated with homosexual behavior, and given that high risk of fatal disease and premature death resulting from homosexual behavior, a student speech code that prohibits young people in Ann Arbor schools or any other schools from compassionately warning fellow students about the severe medical consequences of such behavior, not only violates the Constitution, but arguably puts young lives at greater risk,” Glenn says.
Glenn says his group is asking the Ann Arbor School District, along with several others, to amend speech codes that are in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
By Jim Thorn and Jody Brown
(AgapePress) – The State of Mississippi recently passed a law requiring local schools to display the national motto “In God We Trust” in every classroom, auditorium, and gymnasium in the state. The first of approximately 40,000 copies of a poster bearing that motto recently rolled off the press.
Last month, Mississippi Governor Ronnie Musgrove signed the legislation into law, effective July 1. One of the criticisms of the new law is that it mandates schools display the posters, but provides no funding for accomplishing it. But Kenneth Briggs of Capitol City Label of Pearl, Mississippi, has volunteered to underwrite the cost of printing. Briggs says he is proud to be part of such a project.
“Well, I hope that possibly the other states will adopt it as well when they see that maybe there wasn't any negative [reactions] coming out of it … that they won't be as [politically] fearful of implementing a policy such as this. I'm just grateful to be a part of it,” Briggs says.
Pearl Mayor Jimmy Foster says he thinks that all of the schools in his community will welcome the “In God We Trust” posters to their classrooms.
“I haven't heard that much feedback on this issue, and I really don't think it's an issue because I'm one of those [who] believe we have to have religion in our school,” Foster says. “If this is the way to get it back in, then so be it. I think this will be well received in the classroom, and I've heard just favorable comments on this issue around the schools.”
The American Family Association, based in Tupelo, Mississippi, now is taking the responsibility for getting those posters to the schools throughout the State. The pro-family organization is hoping that churches, Sunday school classes, civic groups, and parents will essentially underwrite the cost of putting framed “In God We Trust” posters in the state's schools.
AFA President Don Wildmon says he hopes the posters will remind the kids who see them of America's heritage.
“We hope they'll see it. We hope they'll read it, and we hope it'll influence them,” Wildmon said of the students.
Wildmon also says he is not fearful of a possible lawsuit from the Mississippi chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which says the new law is an endorsement of religion. Of the ACLU's threat, he says, “It's all bark and no bite. [The ACLU] has absolutely no leg whatsoever to stand on. This is a national motto.”
(This update courtesy of Agape Press.)