The school year has only just begun for most students, and already, a middle school student in North Carolina has been suspended for sharing his faith with classmates. According to the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) which has intervened on the child's behalf to defend his First Amendment rights, school officials called the student's talking about Jesus "harassment." "They told his parents that the child was suspended in school for three days, and if the parents tried to remove their child or bring him home, he would fail all his tests for the week and get unexcused absence marks on his record," wrote ACLJ's Jordan Sekulow. Sekulow noted that the Supreme Court reasserted the protection of religious speech under the First Amendment in Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Community Sch. Dist. and explained that students and teachers do not surrender their First Amendment rights simply by entering a public school building. Here's what the ACLJ had to say: "Once we heard about this situation of the student’s suspension, we took action. Immediately after this student’s parents contacted us, we wrote a legal demand letter to this school. We made very clear to the school its obligation under the First Amendment was to respect the right of this child to share his faith, rather than stifle his ability to communicate his beliefs with others. The school is barred by the First Amendment from treating his faith as “harassment.” "We did not merely give this school a basic lesson in constitutional law. We also made clear that we will be proceeding with further legal action against the school unless it immediately ends this student’s suspension, removes this from his academic record, and apologizes to him and his family immediately. This kind of behavior, especially toward vulnerable students, can never be tolerated. We will continue to hold this school, and any school that engages in similarly blatantly illegitimate behavior, accountable to the Constitution." Infringement upon religious liberty is rising in the United States as Christianity and biblical beliefs are considered less and less tolerable in mainstream culture. Christians must stand firm in defending these freedoms that are foundational to our nation's DNA and given to mankind by God himself.
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