A constitutional lawyer is accusing a high school in West Virginia of violating the separation of church and state by shutting down a Christian student group's bulletin board.
The 3-inch by 3-inch Post-It notes on the hallway bulletin board were intended to offer inspiration and encouragement to students dealing with life issues. But the notes inscribed with handwritten references to Bible verses – which had been posted by the Lewis County High School "Youth Alive" club – offended at least one student who complained about the material. Upon their return to school early last month, club members were instructed to remove the notes.
John Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, says the school recklessly overreacted to the display. "[The notes] didn't actually quote the Bible verses," he explains. "In other words, the students could look at the Post-It notes – and if they saw a Bible verse, they could go look it up themselves either online or in a Bible."
According to Whitehead, school officials committed a clear act of censorship that violates the First Amendment. He is demanding that the 18-member Youth Alive club be allowed to re-post the inspirational verses.
"We've told them that they either go ahead and change this policy, or we'll have to file a lawsuit against them based on the Equal Access law and the First Amendment," he tells OneNewsNow.
Whitehead calls the removal of the notes "a missed opportunity [for the school] to support young people in their efforts to find positive, constructive methods of engaging with fellow students who might be struggling with feelings of depression, unhappiness and stress."