Defense of student’s religious speech wins out

Monday, May 27, 2013
Becky Yeh - California correspondent (

A California legal group hopes that one school district in the Golden State has learned its lesson not to silence the religious speech of students.

A kindergartener at Salt Creek Elementary School in Chula Vista, California, was allowed to sing a Christian song at his school's talent show last week after the school received a letter from a legal group. School leaders initially said the student could not perform the song "Our God Is Mercy" because it is a Christian song.

But after the Pacific Justice Institute sent a letter to the school's principal explaining that the school censored the student's religious speech, school leaders had a change of heart. Brad Dacus is president of PJI.

Dacus, Brad (PJI)"We at the Pacific Justice Institute are very disappointed to have learned that the Chula Vista School District decided to engage in such unconstitutional censorship of this young boy in kindergarten who simply wanted to play a Christian song on his guitar," the attorney says.

"The Constitution clearly protects students from being silenced and censored simply because of the religious nature of their speech - or in this case, the religious nature of their song."

In an earlier press release, Dacus said "misguided" school officials - in an attempt to avoid criticism from those who are anti-religion - "end up inadvertently embracing secularism as the school's official religion."

PJI says the kindergartener was crushed when he learned he could not be in the show. At that point, his mother contacted PJI senior counsel Michael Peffer.

We moderate all reader comments, usually within 24 hours of posting (longer on weekends). Please limit your comment to 300 words or less and ensure it addresses the article. Comments that contain a link (URL), an inordinate number of words in ALL CAPS, rude remarks directed at other readers, or profanity/vulgarity will not be approved.
Unions block reform efforts to improve education, says analyst

A political science professor at Stanford University has concluded after years of research that teachers unions have had a devastating effect on education reform efforts.