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May 4, 2012 Print

School District Scrambles Constitution Over Egg Hunt Invite

by CitizenLink Team

A Florida school district’s refusal to allow a school student to give classmates a flier about church-organized Easter egg hunts has prompted the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) to sue the district.

In March, the Hillsborough County School District in the Tampa area forbade a fourth-grader from inviting students to several neighborhood Easter egg hunts organized by his church.

The school board said the religious nature of the event violated two of its policies. The first states that fliers distributed by students for religious events “may not contain a proselytizing message (i.e., promote the benefits of the specific religion).” The second prohibits materials that “seek to establish the supremacy of a particular religious denomination, sect, or point of view over any other religious denomination, sect, or point of view.”

The federal lawsuit contends both policies are unconstitutional.

“We’ve had good success with student speech, even with young kids,” said ADF Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “We’ve won injunctions against schools shutting down the handing out of fliers. (The district allows) a lot of other invitations to secular events. If you take away the religious aspect, I believe they would allow it.”


Read Gilio v. School Board of Hillsborough County.



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