'Valentine's card' student wins free speech case

Friday, November 1, 2019
 | 
Bob Kellogg (OneNewsNow.com)

Freedom of Religion buttonA student who sued her college after administrators barred her from handing out Valentine's cards with a Christian message has won her First Amendment case. 

Campus authorities stopped Northwest Wisconsin Technical College student Polly Olsen from handing out her homemade cards on Valentine's Day last year, Fox News recalled in its recent story, but the paralegal student sued to fight for free speech.

She was represented by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty.

Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute tells OneNewsNow that case law is “decisively” on the side of students and their First Amendment right to free speech.

“The Supreme Court clearly held,” he says, “that a student's free speech rights do not stop at the schoolhouse gates, and that case law applies to religious speech by religious students as well."

U.S. District Court Judge William Griesbach wrote in his ruling that the school "had no more right to prevent [Olsen] from handing out individual Valentines than it did to stop her from wishing each individual to have a 'good morning a blessed day.'"

The college president, Jeffrey Rafn, told Fox News that Olsen was punished for entering an office without permission, but the student says she entered the same area numerous times in the past. 

"That was a bogus attempt,” Dacus alleges, “to try to come up with some valid, secular reason to cover up what their real intentions were, which was to punish a girl for one thing and one thing only." 

And what is that one thing? The religious content of the cards. 

President Donald Trump signed an executive order earlier this year defending free speech on college and university campuses, and Olsen was cited by him as an example of a student exercising her legal rights.

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