ACLU pushes high-schoolers’ protest of … ACLU

The ACLU of Virginia on Thursday asked the principal at Gate City High School to honor the free speech rights of students who plan to protest the ACLU at the school’s football game tonight.

The students are reacting to a Sept. 15 letter from the ACLU of Virginia telling school officials that a sectarian prayer delivered over the public-address system at a football game was unconstitutional. According to news reports, the students have now produced more than 1,000 t-shirts, which they plan to wear to this Friday’s game. The front of the T-shirts shows the school’s initials, a cross, and the words, “I still pray…” On the back is, “In Jesus’ name.”

“Religious liberty demands that the government not impose religious views on anyone,” said ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Kent Willis, “and free speech demands that the government allow individuals to express their views. This means that Gate City High School officials may not permit sectarian prayers over the public-address system at football games, but that they must allow students to protest the ACLU’s effort to stop those prayers.”

“This is not nearly as ironic as it seems, and it is certainly a wonderful opportunity for the school and the students to think about how fundamental constitutional principles are applied to real life,” added Willis.

In the Sept. 15 letter, ACLU of Virginia Legal Director Rebecca Glenberg warned Principal Greg Ervin that a sectarian prayer delivered over the public-address system before a football game earlier that month violated a U.S. Supreme Court ruling holding that such prayers carry the impermissible endorsement of the school and coerce participation in a religious exercise by persons attending the game. Glenberg’s letter was written after the ACLU received a complaint from the parent of a student.

In the letter, Willis writes that students are guaranteed the right of free speech, so long as the speech does not materially disrupt the educational process. Willis points out that a football game takes place during non-instructional time and doubts that a thousand students wearing T-shirts with religious messages will be disruptive.

A copy of Willis’ letter can be found below. Glenberg’s letter can be found online at http://www.acluva.org/newsreleases2009/GateCityHighSchoolprayerletter.pdf.

         
 

UVA Basketball Fans!

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25. The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe, and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018 through to the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

Dick Vitale on Team of Destiny: “This is a hoops story you will LOVE! Jerry and Chris capture the sensational and dramatic championship journey by Tony Bennett and his tenacious Cavalier team. UVA was Awesome Baby and so is this book!”

Ralph Sampson on Team of Destiny: “Jerry and Chris have lived and seen it all, even before my time. I highly recommend this book to every basketball fan across the globe. This story translates to all who know defeat and how to overcome it!”

Feedback from buyers: “Got the Book in the Mail Saturday, and could not put it down! Great read and great photography as well! Love all of the books I’ve received, but hands down, this is my favorite!” – Russell

Buy here.


augusta free press news
augusta free press news
augusta free press news


Comments