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Calif. School District Changes Policy After Trying to Ban Disabled Boy's Christian Talent-Show Song

“The school district is doing the right thing..."

The Los Angeles Unified School District has changed a controversial policy after it tried to prevent a disabled boy from dancing to a Christian song at a school talent show.

In early February, Superior Street Elementary School principal Jerilyn Shubert told one fifth grader and his parents that the boy's planned performance was too "offensive" because of its Christian elements. The principal said the boy's dance performance to the song "We Shine" was violation of the "separation of church and state" and asked why he couldn't "pick a song that does not say Jesus so many times."

The boy's parents sued the district citing a violation of the boy's First Amendment rights. The school eventually reversed its decision and let the boy perform the song, but parents continued with the suit until the district changed one of its policies. It did. explains:

The school district has now agreed to a settlement, revising its District Bulletin to read: “Student speakers at student assemblies and extracurricular activities such as sporting events or talent shows may not be selected on a basis that either favors or disfavors religious speech.”

According to the Daily Mail, the young boy suffers from cerebral palsy.

The Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal group that filed lawsuit on the student's behalf, has now filed a voluntary dismissal of the lawsuit in light of the policy change.

“Christian students shouldn’t be censored at public schools just because district officials consider religious speech to be offensive,” said ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman in a statement.

The statement noted that "officials approved the following songs for the show: 'Freak the Freak Out,' focusing on relationship problems, 'Shake It Up,' with the theme of dancing and celebrating, and 'Eye of the Tiger,' with lyrics stating that 'we kill with the skill to survive.'”

“The school district is doing the right thing by changing its policy to protect students’ constitutionally protected rights so that censorship of religious speech no longer occurs during student activities,” Cortman added.

One last thing…
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