A college was so furious at a student for passing out Valentines cards with Bible verses on them that administrators called security guards to frog march the woman off the campus.
The student, whose cards said things such as “Jesus loves you,” was accused of being “disruptive” and “soliciting” with the cards.
A lawsuit has now been filed by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty saying that the student’s First Amendment rights were violated by Northeast Wisconsin Technical College when school administrators sent the goos-stepping security guards to shut her down.
According to LifeZette:
The legal brief obtained by Campus Reform says that Polly Olsen, a student at NWTC, sued her school on Tuesday for what she termed an “unconstitutional” public assembly policy.
The back story: On Feb. 14, 2018, while Olsen was passing out handmade, heart-shaped Valentine’s Day cards containing Bible verses — in loving memory of her mother who passed away — she was confronted by a security guard.
The guard told that her she was violating school policy by “soliciting” and being “disruptive.”
He also warned her she could only hand out the valentines in the designated “free speech area” on campus, which requires prior reservation and approval.
Meanwhile, court documents allege: “An unidentified person telephoned the NWTC Office of Safety & Security and, per the NWTC Security Office report, complained that a female student (Ms. Olsen) was handing out Valentine’s Day cards with Bible references on the cards in the area of the General Studies.”
Olsen was not handing out valentines during any class, in the library — or in any area where students were in a learning environment, according to court documents.
The school has proclaimed the issue to be one of “public assembly,” and not one of free speech. And so, the administrators say they have a right to limit people “assembling” on school grounds.
But according to the lawsuit, Olsen was not “assembling” but was walking around passing out the cards.
“She walked through a number of areas in the NWTC Student Center handing out Valentines. The NWTC Student Center, as its name indicates, is a part of the NWTC campus that serves a number of needs for its students. It has student common areas, lounge areas, a cafeteria, a coffee shop, and certain offices providing student services, including offices known as the General Studies Office. Ms. Olsen handed out Valentines in various areas of the NWTC Student Center.”
In addition, “On information and belief, when Supervisor Jandrin and Security Coordinator Schultz told her that she had entered an area in which access by students is restricted without being invited or announced,” the documents continue. “They were referring to the General Studies Office in the Student Center. Prior to Valentine’s Day in 2018, Ms. Olsen had been in the General Studies Offices many times because she knew some of the people that worked there.”
The student and her counsel insist that she was simply observing her right for free speech and freedom of religion.
For more information, watch the NWTC’s video explaining their lawsuit:
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.
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