Seattle-area teen sues school after being suspended for 'disruptive' preaching of Christianity

School officials say Michael Leal was disciplined not for evangelizing, but creating a "substantial disruption."

By Matt Bradwell

EVERTT, Wash., Nov. 19 (UPI) -- A high school student in Washington is suing his school district, claiming his religious liberties were violated by three separate disciplinary suspensions for preaching and passing out Bible verses.

Michael Leal does not deny that he repeatedly passed out mass-produced Christian literature at suburban Seattle Cascade High School, and claims he was fully within his rights to do so.


"It has been well established by court precedent that students do not leave their free speech rights at the schoolhouse door," attorney Conrad Reynoldson told the Seattle Post Intelligencer. Reynoldson's services were provided by a national organization.

"Unfortunately certain officials at the school have a disagreement on this matter which is why it has become necessary to file this lawsuit."

But school officials say Leal was disciplined not for evangelizing, but creating a "substantial disruption," and that distinction was made clear at the time of each suspension.

"At no time was Mr. Leal told that his distribution of material or his statements were inappropriate at school because of their religious content," Michael Patterson, attorney for Everett School, said in a letter to Leal's representation obtained by the Seattle Post Intelligencer.


"Rather, he was informed of District policy ... and told that he needed to comply with it. He was also informed that he could not create a substantial disruption at school or school events."

Everett school district has yet to formally comment on the lawsuit.

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