It's an important First Amendment victory.
You will remember this case. We went to federal court on behalf of a student in New York who was indefinitely suspended for wearing a Rosary to school. The school district claimed the wearing of the Rosary was not permitted because it represented a gang-related symbol.
As you know, we filed a federal lawsuit immediately. And, we secured a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) from the court to ensure that our client, Raymond Hosier, could return to school and finish out the school year wearing the Rosary.
Now, the Schenectady school district has voted to change this troubling policy. They have amended it and removed the discriminatory language.
This policy change represents a critical victory for religious freedom as well as our client and all students in the school district. It's clear that our lawsuit resulted in an important change of school policy. It's our view that this discriminatory policy violated our client's constitutionally-protected rights of free speech and free exercise of religion.
We filed a federal lawsuit in June on behalf of Raymond and his mother, Chantell. In the complaint, we outlined the fact that Raymond wears the Rosary to express his faith in God and honor the memory of a deceased uncle and a brother who died with that very same Rosary in his hand.
The complaint also asserted that Raymond is not a member of any criminal gang and does not wear his Rosary to promote gang membership or violence. In our filing, we also noted that Raymond has been wearing the Rosary since September 2009 without causing "any disruption to the school environment."
We then filed an amended complaint alleging that the defendants retaliated against Raymond for filing his original lawsuit to secure his constitutional rights. That is posted here.
While this is an important development, and removing the discriminatory policy is a First Amendment victory, this action does not bring an end to our lawsuit.
We stand ready to resolve the remaining issues - liability and damages - either outside or inside the courtroom.
We will now request that the federal district court cancel the preliminary injunction hearing scheduled for September 8th because of the amended policy and the fact that the student, Raymond Hosier, is attending school in a different school district this year.
While the American Center for Law and Justice continues to (1) fight for religious freedom, (2) fight the scourge of genocide throughout the world, (3) battle to limit unconstitutional Executive overreach by the IRS and the Obama Administration, it appears that Mikey Weinstein and the Military...
“Resolved: That the guarantee of the rights of conscience, as found in our Constitution, is most sacred and inviolable, . . . and that all attempts to abridge or interfere with these rights, directly or indirectly, have our decided disapprobation, and shall ever have our most effective opposition.”
I have to confess that it’s getting more and more difficult for me to “speak the truth in love” to some people. Some folks are just never going to get it, no matter what we do. It’s like casting pearls before swine. It reminds me of the tongue-in-cheek saying, “Hey, don’t cloud the issue with...
Michael (Mikey) Weinstein is the founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), a legal advocacy group whose mission is “ensuring that all members of the United States Armed Forces fully receive the Constitutional guarantees of religious freedom to which they and all Americans are...