Beaver Area School District Encouraged to Learn About Students’ Constitutional Rights
(Harrisburg) — The American Family Association of Pennsylvania (AFA of PA), a statewide traditional values group and an advocate for the First Amendment, has contacted Beaver Area School District superintendent Dr. Carrie Rowe and asked her take to up First Liberty Institute’s offer to sit down and discuss how the school district might provide for religious expression in the future. Graduation Day on June 2nd should have been a happy time for all graduating seniors, but when one’s speech has been censored by the administration that takes away from the significant milestone in a student’s life.
“Students don’t park their constitutional rights outside the schoolhouse door. Asking a student to remove references to her personal beliefs in her personal remarks during the closing exercise at graduation is unconstitutional. Superintendent Rowe and the school board should arrange a meeting with First Liberty to discuss how students’ religious viewpoints can be protected in the future, explained Diane Gramley, president of the AFA of PA.
The June 14th letter to the school district noted: “One of the ‘Belief Statements’ listed on your school website is ‘We believe that healthy development involves the mind, body, and spirit.’ One of your district’s ‘Objectives’ is that ‘All students will connect with culturally diverse resources, ideas, and people.’ It is apparent that evidence of Moriah Bridges’ healthy development of the spirit was censored by the school district and, as a result, her fellow graduates were prevented from connecting with her diverse views on June 2nd.”
“After this censorship, Christian students attending Beaver Area School District schools and their families need to be reassured that their religious beliefs will be welcome at school. Viewpoint discrimination is illegal and Beaver Area School District must take steps to make sure there are no future incidences censoring a student’s private speech. Acknowledging they made a mistake in the Moriah Bridges’ case and meeting with First Liberty Institute would go a long way in doing that,” concluded Gramley.
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