Thorough Investigation Finds District's Policy Neutral and Constitutional
CONWAY, Ariz., Feb. 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Last night, Liberty Institute appeared before the School Board of Conway Public Schools and made its report and recommendations regarding the constitutionality of permitting non-student visitors—including youth ministers—to visit school campuses during the lunch period. Liberty Institute's analysis follows Conway Public School's receipt of a demand letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation. To view Liberty Institute's report and visitor's policy recommendations online, visit: https://www.libertyinstitute.org/document.doc?id=45 and https://www.libertyinstitute.org/document.doc?id=44.
"Conway Public School's neutral 'all-comers' non-student visitor policy is constitutional based upon U.S. Supreme Court and Eighth Circuit precedent," said Jeff Mateer, Liberty Institute general counsel. "Neutral on its face, the policy does not advance or inhibit religion nor does it favor religion over non-religion. To the contrary, any policy that banned visits by ministers while permitting non-religious visitors would constitute hostility to religion, which the First Amendment prohibits."
Liberty Institute's thorough constitutional analysis included an investigation of the FFRF complaint and the District's visitor policy, as well as interviews with Conway Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Greg Murry, school principals, administrators and local youth ministers. Based on its findings, Liberty Institute recommended an amendment to clarify and supplement the existing policy. At last night's meeting, the School Board received Liberty Institute's report and adopted its recommendations, amending the current policy.
Dr. Murry said, "We are thankful that the investigation is complete. The District strives to respect and protect the rights of all students and citizens, and will continue to work diligently to follow the Constitution."
The investigation was in response to a complaint letter to Conway Public Schools from FFRF on Oct. 26, 2012, alleging that a youth minister was given "unique" access to students during the lunch period. Liberty Institute's investigation revealed that the factual evidence did not support this allegation. In January, Conway Public Schools retained Liberty Institute for pro bono legal assistance.
About Liberty Institute
Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal group dedicated to restoring and defending religious liberty across America – in our schools, for our churches, and throughout the public arena. Liberty Institute's vision is to reestablish liberty in accordance with the principles of our nation's founders. Visit www.LibertyInstitute.org for more information.
SOURCE Liberty Institute