Students, lawyers demand answers amid bible controversy
Lawyers and students publicly confronted Mechanicsburg school leaders during a board meeting Tuesday, saying free speech is being violated. This comes after the high school principal is accused of stopping Bibles from being handed out during lunch.
The Christians In Action student Bible club at Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School are demanding answers from their district.
The Independence Law Center in Harrisburg alleges the principal, David Harris, recently denied the students permission to hand out Bibles during lunch with classmates and friends.
“The Supreme Court has ruled that students not lose their constitutional rights to free speech when they enter the school house gates. They have the ability to pass out even literature during school hours, during non-instructional time in a non-disruptive manner,” said Jeremy Samek, senior counsel at the Independence Law Center.
Mechanicsburg Area School District leaders say students are always permitted to bring, read, share and discuss the Bible at school.
However the district says the Bible club never submitted a formal request to hand out the Bibles, something the Independence Law Center says is not true.
“We fully expect that the board doesn’t understand all of the facts in this case. Some of the information that they may be working off of is incomplete and we don’t think they have the full picture so we’re hoping that after tonight they see the full picture,” said Samek.
Lawyers say this is not the first time the Bible club has been denied. At the beginning of this school year Harris reportedly told the group they could not post a flyer in the school because it mentioned a Bible verse. The flyer was approved after the Independence Law Center got involved.
It’s not clear if or when the district will discuss their next step in this Bible controversy.
Nearly two dozen community members spoke on both sides of the issue during Tuesday’s school board meeting.
The Mechanicsburg superintendent denied CBS21’s request for an on-camera interview as he walked into the board meeting Tuesday.