5th Circuit to Rehear Case of Grade School Students’ Confiscated Jesus Pencils
Posted Dec 23, 2010 11:52 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Do grade school students who want to distribute religious-themed pencils and pens have a First Amendment right to do so?
The issue will be reconsidered by the en banc 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in New Orleans, How Appealing reports. In a June decision, amended in November (PDF), a 5th Circuit panel found two Texas school principals could be liable for violating the children’s clearly established constitutional rights by confiscating the items.
The students wanted to distribute inscribed pencils and candy cane pens during winter break parties. The pencils had the message “Jesus is the reason for the season” and the pens had cards attached explaining the Christian origin of candy canes.