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1329502003000

By Janet Ortegon, Sheboyganpress.com

The Sheboygan Area School District erred when it confiscated a second-grader’s Valentine’s Day messages because they included a religious passage, according to a lawyer who is representing the child’s mother.

David French, an attorney with the American Center for Law and Justice, said James Madison Elementary School student Dexter Thielhelm should have been able to distribute valentines that contained candy, a note reading “Jesus Loves You” and the Biblical passage from John 3:16....

“It was not disruptive speech,” French said. “The fact that it was religious is irrelevant. It’s not the state speaking, it’s the child speaking. Opt-outs in education typically happen when you’re talking about state-mandated educational initiatives, such as certain kinds of sex ed (because) messages that come from the state are inherently more coercive.”...

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