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    Is talking about religion in a speech class acceptable?

    Date: 10.09.09 | by Judge Tom.

    Apparently at Los Angeles Community College it isn’t. Jonathan Lopez chose to talk about his religious views in his public speaking class. The professor stopped him and refused to let him finish his remarks. Reportedly, the professor called Jonathan a “fascist bastard” and wrote on his grading sheet for the speaking assignment that he should “ask God what your grade is.”

    Jonathan filed suit in federal court which ordered the Community College District to refrain from enforcing its speech code until the case was fully presented in court. The judge said the school’s policy was overly broad and a determination was needed whether it went too far in prohibiting students from expressing themselves.

    Photo by Pip R. Lagenta (Flickr)

    “The vigilant protection of constitutional freedoms is nowhere more vital than in the community of American schools,” the court stated.

    Do you think the discussion of religion should be banned in public schools? Or is there a place for such without offending the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause? Does a school support or denounce religion by allowing open discussion of religious matters? What about the concept of educational settings being a “marketplace of ideas” as the Supreme Court announced in 1969 in the Tinker case?

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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