Judge Vindicates WA High School Preacher

Last fall, Michael Leal was suspended from Cascade High School in Everett, Washington.  His offense?  He handed out pamphlets and shared his faith with students during breaks at school.

“People talk about a lot of other things and I feel like I should be able to talk about what I want to talk about. It’s about Jesus. It’s about the Bible,” Leal told KIRO Seattle.

In November, Leal filed a lawsuit challenging the suspension and the rules that led to it.  On Friday, federal judge Thomas S. Zilly ruled that the Everett School District’s policy requiring any literature handed out to be written or produced by the students was unconstitutional.

It was noted that the policy barred students from distributing copies of the Constitution as well as the gospel tracts distributed by Leal.

Conrad Reynoldson, an attorney for Leal, said, “This ruling affects more than just our client, Michael. This decision sets important precedent for what limits on free speech in public schools are permissible and what are not. It is important for students to be able to express their point of view whether it is in the form of their own words or the words of our Founding Fathers.”

Brad Dacus, of the Pacific Justice Institute, who was also involved in the case, was likewise encouraged by the ruling. “For nearly half a century, the Supreme Court has declared that students’ constitutional rights do not end at the schoolhouse gate. That fundamental principle is being tested in this case.”

Dacus emphasized that this ruling does not threaten an orderly school. “To be clear, school authorities retain significant power to prevent substantial disruptions and maintain order and safety. Unfortunately, this school district crossed the line by restricting far more speech than was necessary and treating high schoolers more like inmates than the future leaders that they are.”

This case is concerning because it is further evidence that education at all levels is moving away from the free exchange of ideas in favor of policies designed to make sure no one is ever offended.

As a result, restrictions on free speech are becoming most common in the very institutions where allowing competing ideas to clash was the whole point.

There’s an important point about free speech worth underscoring.

Free speech laws exist only to protect offensive speech.  Why is this true?  Because only speech that someone finds offensive needs protection.  It is only when someone is offended by someone else’s speech that they would be tempted to take measures to silence it.

That is what tyrants have been doing for millennia and it’s what the authors of the Constitution sought to move away from when they drafted the First Amendment.

Someone is offending you and no one is trying to stop them? Good.  That means you are also free.

If your child is being told that it is their responsibility to enjoy and agree with the lesson on gender fluidity during class but they are not allowed to share their faith at school outside of class, don’t just take it. Let us know so we can help.

Abraham Lincoln once noted that, “The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.”

What a scary thought that is. But we may be closer than we think already.

Polling from last week suggests that huge numbers of Americans, including a majority of Democrats, would support bans on “hate speech”.

But for today, we can be thankful that in Judge Zilly’s court, the First Amendment still means something, even if that offends you.
7 replies
  1. NJ
    NJ says:

    I was fortunate to catch a television clip featuring Michael Leal. What a godly young man! He’s humble, kind-hearted, grounded in his faith, and sincere about his walk with God — a great example for other teenagers (and adults) to follow. His compassion toward his fellow students is remarkable. Sad to think that he was admonished for generating goodwill and seeking to win souls. What a bizarre world we live in! Good for you, Michael, for showing courage and stepping out. You are on my “most admired” list! Well done!!!

  2. Robert Hernacki
    Robert Hernacki says:

    I too am happy about the ruling and applaud Mr Leal for fighting back. I suspect many of the schools administrators, teachers & parents are happy about the ruling and the precedent set buy it.. School districts take actions (like suspending Mr Leal) to protect themselves from lawsuits. not so-much because individuals in those school districts are anti-Christian or anti- constitution

  3. Tionico
    Tionico says:

    Interesting that there is much kerfuffle of late concerning things like “hate speech”, censorship, viewpoint discrimination, and heavy handed government hooh hahs bossing folk about as if they were slaves. This man stood his ground and fought back, partly I presume to protect his own interests, but I’m also certain to protect OURS. ON WHAT GROUNDS can those school administrators stand and declare “you cannot say that here”, whilst at the same time promiting all manner of filth and perversion? This ruling is heartening. There are yet a few who have not bowed their knee to the gods of safety, poular opinion, the party agenda, and “I can too order you about as I am the One In Charge here and YOU will bow down on command. Else its the lions for you,Paco.

  4. bquinn
    bquinn says:

    HEAR HEAR for our Constitution “it still stands” Hooray and Thank you to Michael for not being ashamed of the Gospel. . . Romans 1.16 and his Defense team and the Judge presiding. HOORAY ~~OUR CONSTITUTION STILL STANDS over 200 years and counting. God Bless America

  5. Lorna Simpson
    Lorna Simpson says:

    I’m very happy about this ruling. The school district was not only trying to eliminate freedom of speech, but the freedom of thinking about and compassion for fellow human beings. One news report I read, stated that the student was being disruptive as well. If this was not the case, Michael has more ground on which to stand in terms of his suspension being inappropriate and unacceptable. Thank you, Michael, for taking a stand!


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