‘Candy Cane Case’ Questions Children’s First Amendment Rights

by | May 23, 2011 | Charisma Archive

candy cane poemA
school district in Plano, Texas, has battled a case for eight years
that raises the question: Does an elementary school student have a
First Amendment right to free speech?

The school district has made an
appeal, and arguments were heard this morning by all 17 judges on the
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

v. Plano Independent School District, more commonly known as the
“candy cane case,” involves several students who were denied
their free speech rights and discriminated against because
their speech was religious in nature.

who is a parent or grandparent or just cares about the future of this
country should be concerned,” Kelly Shackelford, CEO
and president of Liberty Institute, says. “If this court rules that elementary
students have no First Amendment rights, then neither students nor
their parents will have any recourse against religious
discrimination, [which has] occurred in this case. It would be a massive
shift of power away from citizens and families to the government.”

case started eight years ago when then 8-year-old Jonathan Morgan was
banned from handing out candy cane pens to his classmates because a
poem about Jesus was attached. The school district also threatened a
young girl for handing out tickets after school to a religious play
and forbade an entire class of students from writing “Merry
Christmas” on holiday cards to American troops serving overseas.
They even called the police on a mother who protested the punishing
of her daughter, whose “Jesus” pencils were seized.

argument that the school officials are making is that it’s
perfectly OK to engage in hostile religious discrimination against
kids for speech they’re engaging in during their own free time,”
says Hiram Sasser, one of the main attorneys on the case.

is the director of litigation for Liberty Institute, which represents
the students in this case. He says the results of the case will have
a great impact on the nation because if his party loses, it will
change a precedent that has been set for decades.

been clearly established law for decades that government officials
are not allowed to discriminate against speech because it’s
religious in nature,” Sasser explains. “Every court … has
always declared that the worst violation against the Constitution is
discriminating against speech because you don’t like what the
person is expressing—in this case, religious viewpoints.

we lose, it will be a massive change in the law authorizing school
officials to intentionally discriminate against students who say
something religious, even in their free time when they’re not
bothering or disturbing anybody.”

case is bringing up not only what rights elementary school children
have, but also people with special needs. According to Sasser, the
Association of Retarded Citizens is concerned for its members who
have the IQ of an elementary school child.

Institute is asking for prayers that the judges would rule in their
favor—which means the law would stay the same—and the Plano
school district would not have the right to censor children’s speech
because of its religious nature.

Institute has partnered with two former U.S. Solicitors General to
help them argue on the students’ behalf: Paul Clement (who will also
represent the U.S. House of Representatives in its effort to uphold
the Defense of Marriage Act), and Kenneth Starr, president of Baylor

school district has appealed multiple times and can take their case
to the U.S. Supreme Court if the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rules
against them. Arguments were heard at 10 a.m. CST, and Sasser
predicts the verdict will be take between six and nine months.

{youtube width=”500″}b7z8kdI4yrk{/youtube}


Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


Rick Joyner Hospitalized Following Series of Strokes

Rick Joyner Hospitalized Following Series of Strokes

On Friday, May 26, MorningStar Ministries founder Rick Joyner suffered a series of strokes. Acting President of MorningStar Ministries and Lead Pastor of MorningStar Church Chris Reed made the announcement on Pentecost Sunday: "Our founder, Rick Joyner, had a stroke....

Christians and Jews Clash During ‘Pentecost Protests’

Christians and Jews Clash During ‘Pentecost Protests’

A Sunday morning clash erupted between dozens of Israelis, many of them Orthodox Jews, and Christians who the Israelis claimed were proselytizing at the Western Wall. The Christians were part of the Pentecost 2023 Global Day of Prayer for Jerusalem and the Nations, a...

Americans Do Not Like Megachurches or Celebrity Pastors

Americans Do Not Like Megachurches or Celebrity Pastors

There appears to be a large divide between how people view Jesus compared to how they view His followers. Jesus is viewed quite favorably by most people, not just by Christians but also members of other faiths. When it comes to Christians however, especially in...

Are You Preparing for the After-Life?

Are You Preparing for the After-Life?

What happens after we die? If you ask people this question today, you will hear a variety of answers, from the traditional heaven and hell to zombies and reincarnation. For the believer in the Bible, the answer to this question is not only very important, but it is...


Morning Rundown: Justin Bieber Shares Gospel Message Leading Demonized Woman to Salvation

Here's a quick rundown of the top stories on charismamag.com: Justin Bieber Shares Gospel Message Leading Demonized Woman to Salvation  https://youtu.be/-4NR7Z7v-EY Music megastar Justin Bieber is...
An Urgent Memorial Day Wake-Up Call for America and the Church

An Urgent Memorial Day Wake-Up Call for America and the Church

"We have forgotten God, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own" —Abraham Lincoln. Over the last few decades, Americans have seen the destruction of the...

The Galatians 2:20 Foundation of Memorial Day

The Galatians 2:20 Foundation of Memorial Day

Memorial Day is an American holiday that is observed on the last Monday of May as a day for remembering and honoring the courageous men and women who have died for the cause of freedom while serving in our military. Several other countries have similar, solemn...

Pin It on Pinterest