In Taylor v. Roswell Independent School District, (10th Cir., April 8, 2013), the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected 1st and 14th Amendment challenges by student members of a religious group, Relentless, to decisions by Roswell, New Mexico school officials that prevented them from distributing 2500 rubber fetus dolls to other high school students. The schools took the action after disruptions, described by the court as follows, caused by an initial distribution of the dolls:
Many students pulled the dolls apart, tearing the heads off and using them as rubber balls or sticking them on pencil tops. Others threw dolls and doll parts at the “popcorn” ceilings so they became stuck. Dolls were used to plug toilets. Several students covered the dolls in hand sanitizer and lit them on fire. One or more male students removed the dolls’ heads, inverted the bodies to make them resemble penises, and hung them on the outside of their pants’ zippers.The court also reject plaintiffs' challenge to a district policy requiring pre-approval for distribution of all non-school sponsored material on school grounds. Summarizing its 55-page opinion, the court said:
Plaintiffs’ free speech challenges fail because school officials reasonably forecasted that the distribution would cause substantial disruption and because the distribution did cause substantial disruption. Plaintiffs’ free exercise and equal protection claims fail because the decision to stop the distribution was not based on religion, and Plaintiffs failed to show they were treated differently from similarly situated students. Plaintiffs’ facial challenge to the school policy also fails. The policy is not unconstitutional under the prior restraint doctrine because it constrains official discretion and contains adequate procedural safeguards—and because it applies to the school environment where greater deference is given to school officials. It is not void for vagueness because students of ordinary intelligence can understand its meaning and it neither authorizes nor encourages arbitrary or discriminatory enforcement.