Orange County Public School District Backs Down From Targeting Christian Radio Station

Jan 31, 2005

Orlando, FL – Today, the Orange County Public School District backed down from a discriminatory decision to prohibit a Christian radio station, Z88.3 FM, from participating in a carnival honoring elementary school students who raised funds and awareness for the tsunami relief effort. After a demand letter from Liberty Counsel and pressure from station listeners, the School District recanted and allowed the station to participate. Liberty Counsel is a nonprofit litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious liberty, the sanctity of human life, and the traditional family.

Aloma Elementary School is holding a carnival today in honor of the elementary school children who raised money and awareness for the tsunami relief effort. The carnival includes such activities as games, magicians and face-painting, and the entire community was invited to participate. The station often broadcasts live from areas around the community, and the School District had approved their presence at the carnival. This morning, however, the station received a call from the Aloma Elementary School principal, stating that because a parent had complained about the station’s anticipated presence at the carnival, the station was no longer allowed to broadcast from the carnival.

The station contacted Liberty Counsel and asked Liberty Counsel to represent them. Liberty Counsel sent a demand letter explaining the law to the District and advised the station to encourage its listeners to call the School District in protest. Within hours, the School District was bombarded by phone calls from outraged citizens. The School District later called the station and said that the station’s van would be welcome at the carnival.

Rena Lindevaldsen, Senior Litigation Counsel of Liberty Counsel, stated, “We are pleased that the School District allowed the station to broadcast from the carnival. One parent’s complaint about the station’s participation should not silence the rights of others who would like the station to participate in the event, and the rights of the station to participate. First Amendment rights should not be subject to a heckler’s veto.”