- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 3, 2007

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — A school district violated a fourth-grader’s constitutional rights to free speech and equal protection by refusing to allow her to distribute “personal statement” fliers carrying a religious message, a federal judge has ruled.

The Liverpool Central School District in upstate New York based its restrictions on “fear or apprehension of disturbance, which is not enough to overcome the right to freedom of expression,” Chief U.S. District Judge Norman Mordue wrote in a 46-page decision last week.

“School officials had no right to silence Michaela’s personal Christian testimony,” said lawyer Mat Staver, executive director of Liberty Counsel, the Orlando, Fla.-based conservative legal group that represented Michaela Bloodgood and her mother, Nicole.

Liverpool school district attorney Frank Miller said the school district was studying the decision.

According to the family’s 2004 lawsuit, Mrs. Bloodgood tried three times to get permission for Michaela to pass out the fliers. The flier, about the size of a greeting card, started out: “Hi! My name is Michaela and I would like to tell you about my life and how Jesus Christ gave me a new one.”

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