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MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (CBS/AP) — A Pennsylvania district faces a federal lawsuit claiming officials improperly prevented a high school Christians in Action Club from passing out Bibles on school property during the school day.
The lawsuit filed Thursday by the club and parents of club leaders names as defendants Mechanicsburg Area School District, its superintendent and its high school principal.
It says the policy violates the U.S. Constitution’s free speech and free exercise of religion protections. It argues that letting the students give out Bibles during lunch wouldn’t interfere with educational activity.
“Literature distribution and speech rights should be permitted during the school day at non-instructional times in non-disruptive manners,” said Jeremy Samek, senior counsel for the Independence Law Center, the legal team representing the students. “Students do not lose their right to free speech when they enter their school.”
In a statement, Superintendent Mark Leidy calls the lawsuit a publicity stunt and says it contains inaccurate claims.
Leidy says a formal request wasn’t made to distribute Bibles at school.
The lawsuit seeks an injunction against the district’s policy on distributing literature.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)