Portland, OR - The administration at Mount Scott Elementary School has allowed third grader Kelli Bobst to perform a Christian song she selected for a school talent show, after initially denying her request. A letter to school officials from Liberty Counsel quickly resolved the issue after Kelli's mother, Karen Bobst, asked for assistance.
The situation arose when Kelli chose the song "God's Love Is For You" to audition for the talent show scheduled for April 19. The music teacher said that Kelli was not permitted to sing a Christian song unless other religions were also represented. Kelli's mother confirmed the statement with the music teacher and learned that other students had also been told that the principal would not allow them to sing Christian songs.
Karen contacted Liberty Counsel for assistance. Liberty Counsel sent a letter to the principal and to the superintendent of the North Clackamas School District, advising the school district of the constitutional principles governing student religious expression in public schools. The letter pointed out that that when the school conducts events such as talent shows, where students choose their own material, the school cannot restrict the material on the basis of the religious content. Restrictions based on religious content violate the students' constitutional rights to freedom of speech and religion.
After receiving the letter, the principal notified Kelli's mother that Kelli would be permitted to sing the song she had selected and that other students could also sing Christian songs.
At the talent show on April 19, Kelli entertained the audience with "God's Love Is For You." Another student sang "He's Got The Whole World In His Hands."
Student-initiated speech endorsing religion is fully protected by the Constitution. It is unconstitutional to eliminate Christian viewpoints from a school talent show or any other time where secular viewpoints are permitted. The free speech right of students is not that difficult to understand. Common sense and the Constitution both compel equal treatment of Christian viewpoints.