PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A federal appeals court has ruled that a Pennsylvania fifth-grader may distribute invitations to a church Christmas party at her public school because it won't cause a "substantial disruption."
The panel upheld a lower court's preliminary decision allowing the student to take the invitations into her school based on a free speech standard established in a Vietnam-era Supreme Court case involving a high school anti-war protest.
The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals noted the law is still evolving on how the case should affect elementary schools.
The three-judge panel said schools can exert more control over younger students, given their age and maturity level. The court has previously said a preschooler could not distribute pencils promoting a Christian message to classmates.