It's one thing for Christophobes to be nervous about Easter and Christmas, given their obvious association with Jesus Christ, but surely holidays like Valentine's Day should escape their scrutiny. Well, not quite. A public school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, permitted its students to exchange valentines of all varieties, including those showcasing pop stars Britney Spears and *Nsync. All varieties, that is, except one honoring Jesus Christ. Eight-year-old Morgan Nyman was told she could not pass out her homemade cards saying "Jesus loves you" or "Freely rely on God."
Mark Vetter, the school district's attorney, said, "We think that violates the separation of church and state and would be unconstitutional and impermissible for us to do."24 He said the school would have had no problem with Morgan passing out her valentines during lunchtime or before or after school. Yet there was no such prohibition for the distribution of secular cards, and if the school was not "endorsing" Britney Spears, it certainly was not "endorsing" Morgan's religious cards either."
Morgan's lead attorney, Mathew Staver, agreed that, "If the literature disrupted the ordinary operation of the school, the school has certain authority to be able to restrict that literature." But, Staver added, there was never any suggestion that Morgan's literature was disruptive. "What was disruptive was the principal ordering that the literature be taken back up or confiscated."
When Morgan and her parents sued the school for violation of her constitutional rights, the school district agreed to apologize publicly to Morgan and to revise its policy clarifying students' rights to express their religious beliefs during school and the types of religious materials they are permitted to distribute. But even after issuing the apology, defiant school officials insisted they hadn't done anything wrong."
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