Appeals Court Sides with Student Over Christmas Party Invites

Another battle in the war on Christmas appears to be over as the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court has ruled that a student can distribute flyers to a church Christmas party at school. We reported on this story more than a year ago as the incident involving a student known only as K.A. attempted to distribute a flyer inviting her classmates to her church Christmas party.

The student was denied the right do that based upon a school policy requiring approval of the school principal. When the student sought approval she was denied on the basis that her flyer violated the district’s policy barring material that “seeks to establish the supremacy of a particular religious denomination, sect or point of view”. The lawsuit that was brought forth cited violation of the student’s first amendment rights of free speech.

In defending the suit the school district claimed the flyers would prove a disruption at the school. The judges say there is no evidence the flyers would prove “disruptive” at school. That is the Supreme Court standard for free speech cases involving students. For the first time, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court is applying that standard to elementary school students.

In this case, the handout advertised a 2010 Christmas party at Innovation Church in Mt. Poconos, with face painting, music and games. The court noted that the Poconos Mountain School District lets students bring home flyers about other non-school events.

In an interesting twist, this is the same court that previously ruled that a preschooler could not distribute pencils promoting a Christian message to classmates.

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