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School did not violate Constitution in preventing religious group from distributing fetus dolls

Posted by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 2:41 PM
  • 17 Replies

Do YOU think their First Amendment rights were infringed upon? 

10th Circuit: School Did Not Violate Constitution In Preventing Religious Group From Distributing Fetus Dolls

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.

by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 2:41 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Donna6503
by Gold Member on Apr. 9, 2013 at 3:23 PM
No the school did the right thing.
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terpmama
by Bronze Member on Apr. 9, 2013 at 3:28 PM

I'm with the school.

SLTmom
by Bronze Member on Apr. 9, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Not. At. All.

Quoting ..MoonShine..:

Do YOU think their First Amendment rights were infringed upon? 


"I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief"  Gerry Spence

Mrs.Kubalabuku
by Bronze Member on Apr. 9, 2013 at 3:31 PM

I'm with the school.  They allowed them to distribute previously, and the outcome was disasterous as well as dangerous.  (Lighting them no fire poses some pretty big risks, especially if any of those fires were on school grounds.)

I also don't think the school would stop them from distributing other material.  Those particular dolls sound like A LOT can be done with them that is inappropriate.  Maybe a hard plastic doll that couldn't be so easily altered, or pictures or magnets or something would be OK.

lizmarie1975
by Gold Member on Apr. 9, 2013 at 3:36 PM

Damn...teenagers are creative! If only they could put their creativity to good use.

Jenniy
by Bronze Member on Apr. 9, 2013 at 3:37 PM
1 mom liked this
I'm with the school on this
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coolmommy2x
by Silver Member on Apr. 9, 2013 at 3:39 PM
True that!

Quoting lizmarie1975:

Damn...teenagers are creative! If only they could put their creativity to good use.

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parentalrights1
by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 3:41 PM
Haha the penis thing made me lol
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autodidact
by Platinum Member on Apr. 9, 2013 at 3:43 PM
4 moms liked this

Advisory: if you plan on distributing your religious materials to my children, you may want to go with the pamphlet instead of the doll. You'll find it easier to remove it from where I will place it after you've done so.

AdrianneHill
by Platinum Member on Apr. 9, 2013 at 3:46 PM
Im with the school. I doubt I could hand out a bunch of things that can easily disrupt the entire school and expect no consequences. The group handed out the dolls overestimating the amount of reverence students would afford them simply because they were labeled fetuses and the teens were quick to show why we don't yet consider them adults. The group could have made their point using different media but thought the rules shouldn't apply to them because their message was so important.
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