US Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Appeal of Candy Cane Case

The U.S. Supreme Court today refused to hear an appeal from some Texas parents who wanted to stop their school district from regulating when students can pass out religious-themed material to classmates.

The court refused to hear an appeal from some parents from the Plano Independent School District.

The district in 2005 told elementary students that religious-themed material could only be passed out before and after school, at recess, at three school parties or at designated tables. Middle and secondary students could add in lunchtime or between classes.

Parents say the policy dilutes the free speech rights of their children.

The candy cane saga started at a school party in December 2004. A 9-year-old boy brought candies that had a religious message that read, in part, “The blood Christ shed for the sins of the world.”

Thomas Elementary School administrators stopped the boy from distributing the candy canes. A year later, the boy’s family and several more whose children also were stopped from distributing religious materials sued the school district.

Several months later, the district revised the more restrictive policy regarding the distribution of materials that was in place at the time. The revised policy permits students to circulate materials only before and after school, at three annual parties, during recess and at designated tables in school. Middle and high school students also can hand out items in hallways and during lunch.

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