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Student sues L.A. School District for restricting his right to free speech

Pierce College student, Kevin Shaw, 27, sued the Los Angeles Community College District this week for restricting his first amendment right of passing out copies of the Constitution on campus because he wasn’t in the school’s 600 square foot “free speech zone.”

“When I attempted to hand out copies of the Constitution that day, my only intention was to get students thinking about our founding principles and to inspire discussion of liberty and free speech,” Shaw said in a statement. “I had no idea I would be called upon to defend those very ideals against Pierce’s unconstitutional campus policies.”

Shaw attempted to hand out copies of the Constitution in Spanish before the election in November during a recruiting drive for a campus chapter of Young Americans for Liberty on the main quad, but was told by a school administrator he had to be in the free speech zone. The administrator also advised him he needed a permit to use the free speech zone and failure to comply would result in being booted off campus.

“The law is clear,” Marieke Tuthill Beck-Coon of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which is representing Shaw, said. “Public colleges like Pierce can’t force students into tiny slices of campus to exercise their First Amendment rights.”

An official for Pierce College said they support free speech rights.

(As long as you fill in the correct forms, sign thrice on the dotted line, pledge your allegiance to the PC State, and stand in square X, we invite you to exercise your First Amendment rights. Welcome to college!)

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