When I was informed that David Kallman, Senior Legal Counsel, at the Great Lakes Justice Center was filing a lawsuit against the Plainwell School District for “Punishing Student’s Religious Speech” that caught my attention.

When I found that the complaint alleges that a High School junior was suspended last fall from a Plainwell School for three days in part “for stating his Christian beliefs in a private text conversation and in a hallway at school”, I thought to myself you have to be kidding me. If it was not David Kallman who filed this case I would have thought this was bologna.   It is not bologna.

The complaint alleges he:

was suspended for three days last fall for stating his Christian beliefs in a private text conversation and in a hallway at school. The school also punished him for not policing and reporting other student’s inappropriate jokes. The Defendants’ further instructed David that he must stop posting his religious comments on all his social media platforms. He was also disciplined because of some offensive behavior by others, in which he did not participate and was not aware of, at a football game last October.

I had to read the above statement a few times because I just could not believe it.  Did David actually say “The Defendants’ further instructed David that he must stop posting his religious comments on all his social media platforms”?  Oh yes, he did. I was in such disbelief I actually called David Kallman up and verified that what I understood the case to be about was exactly as written.  He told me yes.  I invited him on my show today, Friday, January 25th to discuss this with my listeners.  He will be on at 10:06 am.

In their press release the father of the student, David J. Stout, stated:

We have always taught our son to be respectful of everyone’s opinion and to be polite to others, as he was here. However, tolerance is a two-way street. David is entitled to properly express his faith and beliefs without being disciplined and suspended by Plainwell schools. We trust the court will uphold David’s constitutional rights and his school record will be cleared.

Also in that press release their lawyer, David A. Kallman, Senior Legal Counsel with the Great Lakes Justice Center, stated:

My client’s religious speech and beliefs should be treated with tolerance and respect. Public schools may not violate the constitution and enforce a heckler’s veto of student speech. Nothing David did caused any disruption or problem at the school. He has the right to express his opinion in accordance with his sincerely held religious beliefs, without vilification or punishment from the government for holding to those beliefs. Great Lakes Justice Center will defend our client’s freedoms to the fullest extent of the law.

In their complaint against Plainwell School District they allege the following four Counts:

  1. Violation of David’s First Amendment constitutional rights to Free Speech and to the Free Exercise of Religion.
  2. Violation of his Michigan constitutional rights.
  3. The school’s policies are unconstitutionally vague and unenforceable.
  4. Violations of the Matt Epling Safe School Law.

Why would a school district or in fact anyone believe they can restrict your speech on a private text messaging app or quite frankly anywhere?

We will see how Plainwell School District responds to these allegations.  You can hear right from the plaintiff’s lawyer today Friday, January 25th on my show at 10:06 am.  If you cannot hear it live you can listen to my podcast at your leisure.

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