U.S. Appeals Court Allows Church Invites at Pa. School

The judges Tuesday say there's no evidence the flyers would prove “disruptive” at school. That's the Supreme Court standard for free speech cases involving students.

By MaryClaire Dale
|  Tuesday, Mar 12, 2013  |  Updated 4:04 PM EDT
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U.S. Appeals Court Allows Church Invites at Pa. School

A federal appeals court says a Pennsylvania fifth-grader can distribute invitations to a church Christmas party at her public elementary school.

The judges Tuesday say there's no evidence the flyers would prove “disruptive” at school. That's the Supreme Court standard for free speech cases involving students.
 
For the first time, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court is applying that standard to elementary school students.
 
Yet the court agrees that schools can exert more control over younger students, given their maturity level.
 
The court has previously said a preschooler could not distribute pencils promoting a Christian message to classmates.
 
In this case, the handout advertised a 2010 Christmas party at Innovation Church in Mt. Poconos, with face painting, music and games.
 
The court noted that the Poconos Mountain School District lets students bring home flyers about other non-school events.

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