IVERPOOL, New York (AP) -- A fourth-grader and her mother claim a school district violated the girl's constitutional rights to free speech and equal protection by refusing to allow her to distribute "personal statement" fliers to other students because they carried a religious message.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court against the Liverpool Central School District by Nicole Martin and her daughter, Michaela Bloodgood.
According to the lawsuit, the school district near Syracuse repeatedly denied Martin's requests for Michaela to pass out a homemade "personal statement" flier to other students at Nate Perry Elementary School.
The flier, about the size of a greeting card, starts out: "Hi! My name is Michaela and I would like to tell you about my life and how Jesus Christ gave me a new one." The flier mentions five ways in which Jesus had come into her life.
"This is nothing less than viewpoint discrimination," said Mat Staver, an attorney and executive director of Liberty Counsel, an Orlando, Florida-based conservative legal group that is representing Bloodgood.
According to the lawsuit, Liverpool officials said Michaela could not distribute it because her flier was religious and that there was "a substantial probability" that other parents and students might misunderstand and presume that the district was "endorsing" the religious statements in the flier.
"The idea that people would think the district was endorsing Michaela's statements is simply absurd. Schools do not endorse everything they allow students to distribute," Staver said.
Liverpool Superintendent Jan Matousek said she had not been informed of the lawsuit and therefore could not comment.
The lawsuit noted that Michaela has received literature from other students at school, including literature concerning a YMCA basketball camp, Syracuse Children's Theater promotion of the show "Dragon Slayers" and the Camp Fire USA's summer camps.
Staver said Michaela intended to distribute her flier only during "non-instructional time," such as on the bus before school, lunch, recess and after school.
Girl Sues School District for Distributing Religious...
I'm sure Michaela will fondly remember as she grows into adulthood, the good old days, back when Mom decided make her the unfortunate puppet in mom's religious agenda. Those were the days, weren't they? The after school beatings, the taunting classmates, the outcast status. Apparently Jesus came into her life just long enough to tattoo "freakshow" on Michaela's forehead.
Poor Michaela, what was so wrong with her before that she needed Jesus to change her life anyway? Looks like JWs aren't the only Christian group asking it's children to humiliate themselves at school, for Jesus.
Yeah, why would a ten year old need a new life?
I know, as a parent, I would not appreciate my children being recruited at school.
Now there is a girl who will grow up with a persecution complex. What she fails to realize is that she is the one going around agitating people... all the while thinking it is her RIGHT to agitate people.
This little gag of hers (her mother's) will not fly... if it were to go through the girl (her mother) will be back in court the next week demanding the school stop the Satanist who is passing out flyers.
Oops... double post.
This is so sad this kid will be scared for life and for what so some big fat jumping for jesus trailer trash can get in the spotlight for 10 seconds...
Well golly geezwhiz...4th grade isn't any too soon for knowing what a piece of shit you are for having been born into "sinner" status; and must have Jesus make it all better.
Damn religous zealot parents. I can only imagine what this mother might have been raised with.
Yeap, it ain't just the JW's that heap abuse upon their children in the name of god. eerrr...Jesus.