Santa Rosa Update

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Pensacola, FL–During the Memorial Day weekend, Liberty Counsel filed in federal court a request for a preliminary injunction against the Santa Rosa County School District (District) and its Superintendent, Timothy S. Wyrosdick.

Liberty Counsel filed a Complaint against the District last month on behalf of 22 individuals representing students, faculty and staff, and members of the community, whose constitutional rights to free speech are being violated by a Consent Decree drafted by the ACLU, agreed to by the District, and entered by a federal court. The motion for preliminary injunction filed over the weekend requests the federal court to block the enforcement of the Consent Decree and set it aside. Under the Consent Decree, a student was told he could not say “God Bless” and had to change it to “Good Luck.” Teachers are not allowed to reply to emails send by parents seeking advice if the parents’ email contains words like “God Bless.” District employees are prohibited from participating in privately sponsored off-campus religious events or baccalaureate. Faculty and staff are required to stop prayers at privately sponsored after-school clubs.

Not only does the Consent Decree violate the free speech rights of faculty, staff, students, and members of the community seeking equal access to school facilities, it should also be set aside as moot, because the ACLU student plaintiffs graduated prior to the Consent Decree becoming a final order. Once they graduated, the court lost jurisdiction and should have dismissed the case.

Mathew Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented: “Freedom fled from Santa Rosa County when the ACLU filed suit. Liberty Counsel intends to restore freedom and end the intimidation. The constitutional violations wrought by the ACLU’s court order are the most outrageous I have seen. The court order directly conflicts with opinions from the United States Supreme Court. It is only a matter of time before the ACLU court order is set aside. Schools are not religious-free zones.”

This article is excerpted from a Liberty Counsel press release.