Friday, September 29, 2023
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Evangelists’ School Flyer Fight Comes to an End

(CN) - An evangelical group failed Monday to garner the Supreme Court's interest in a lawsuit against the Missouri school district that restricted their flyer distribution.

The Victory Through Jesus Sports Ministry Foundation, which hosts summer camps that "use sports as evangelism" for children of all faiths, said its First and 14th Amendment rights were violated by the backpack flyer program at Lee's Summit R-7 School District.

Over the years, Lee's Summit has let nonprofits provide informational flyers to be sent home in the backpacks of elementary school districts. As the district grew, however, flyer requests became burdensome and triggered complaints from parents.

The district adopted new policies designed to limit the amount of informational flyers sent home in children's backpacks

In 2008 and 2009, Victory missed the fall deadlines to promote its summer camp through take-home flyers. It sued the school district in October 2009, claiming religious discrimination.

The Western District of Missouri tossed Victory's claims for injunctive relief and damages on the merits, finding that that Lee's Summit did not have a policy or practice of permitting the general public to distribute flyers at its schools, that its sole purpose in adopting the restrictions was to limit the volume of promotional materials sent home with students and that it did not take religious orientation into account when deciding to limit distribution of Victory's flyers.

A three-judge panel of the 8th Circuit affirmed in May 2011.

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