Saturday, June 03, 2006


Put on your seatbelts, folks. It’s time for another bumpy ride on The Mexitude Express.

From a ChristianNewsWire press release:

The public interest firm of Lively, Ackerman & Cowles filed suit on behalf of Jurupa Valley High School student Joshua Denhalter on Thursday afternoon. The First Amendment suit alleges that the public high school has intentionally interfered with his right to speak out on the issue of illegal immigration.

Mr. Denhalter alleges that on March 27, 2006, dozens of high school students, mostly of Mexican-American descent, illegally walked out of school in protest of legislation (HR4437) that was being proposed by the U.S. Congress concerning illegal immigration. He was not one of these students and chose to act lawfully.

Instead of illegally walking out of school and being truant, Denhalter chose to organize a legitimate and lawful counter-protest/assembly during the lunch hour on or about March 30, 2006. The peaceable assembly was to take place across from the school on a public sidewalk (i.e., a traditional public forum).

The peaceable assembly would not have disrupted school activities because Jurupa Valley High School has an “open lunch” period. This means that students are free to come and go during this time. As such, any student could have “walked out” during the lunch to attend the assembly and there would be no disruption or violation of truancy laws.

Denhalter was suspended on March 30th when he refused to stop handing out flyers for his assembly. He was told that it was because he was “advocating the disruption of school activities” — yet the students who actually walked out of class went unpunished.

Furthermore, between March 27 and March 30, 2006, the school allowed MECHA to sponsor an on-campus rally in opposition to HR4437. Denhalter asked for permission to sponsor a similar counter-rally on campus but was flatly denied by the school district’s board.

Finally, just the week before filing of this complaint, on May 25, 2006, the school prohibited Denhalter from wearing a “Save Our State” t-shirt by telling him that he needed to turn the shirt inside out and not ever wear it again. The content of the political speech set forth on the shirt was the sole basis for this censorship and prior restraint of Denhalter’s rights. He seeks a restraining order allowing him to express himself freely as to political matters until the end of the school year (i.e., June 21, 2006).

Are you just as surprised as I’m not? Time after time, people in power — from the president, to our elected representatives, to school administrators — are trampling over the rights and will of the American people.

As loathe as I am to say it, I’m beginning to agree with Jake that it is going to take violence — and God only know how much — to see a breakthrough on this issue. I hope it isn’t so…but, frankly, I feel that hope is all I’ve got left.

No comments: