The Jury Talks Back


School District refunds donations rather than allow Bible verses

Filed under: California Politics — aunursa @ 9:18 am

In January 2010 Palm Desert High School announced a fundraiser for parents of graduates and other parents and community members.  For a donation of $100 or more, donors could purchase a brick or bench, engraved with a message, that would become a permanent part of the campus.  The order form did not specify restrictions on the messages.

Two community members paid for bricks to be enscribed with Bible verses.  Later the financially-strapped school district notified the two Christian women that their bricks were rejected, citing “separation of church and state.”  In response the Alliance Defense Fund filed a lawsuit on the women’s behalf.  In the lawsuit the plaintiffs noted that other religious messages had been accepted, including a Bible verse in Spanish and a Hindu quote from Mahatma Ghandi.

Last week the parties reached a settlement in which the school district refunded all of the money and destroyed the bricks and benches.   Although their goal was to participate in the fundraiser — not to stop it — the plaintiffs are being blamed as selfish and un-Christian by many in the community for the loss of the $45,000 that the school district returned to the donors.

The ADF attorney said regarding the settlement, “Christians should be allowed to express themselves on public school campuses just like everyone else. It is cowardly to shut down everyone’s participation in this program simply out of animosity toward Christian speech. There is absolutely nothing unconstitutional about a Bible verse on a brick when a school opens up a program for anyone to express a personal message. The school could simply have allowed the Bible verses, but instead, it chose to punish everyone.”


  1. …including themselves. The money should come out of the administrators’ salaries.

    Comment by Kevin Murphy — 6/16/2011 @ 7:17 pm

  2. Of corse it’s only wrong if we do it.

    Comment by James D. Bourne — 6/29/2011 @ 4:48 am

  3. This prohibition on religious inscriptions makes no sens, and I say that as an atheist and a supporter of keeping government from endorsing any religion.

    The school district didn’t mandate any religious verse; that was the decision of private individuals. The answer to allowing religious inscriptions would be to also allow atheist inscriptions — and from what I’ve read, such would be allowed. So why the fuss?

    Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. — 7/17/2011 @ 1:29 pm

  4. sense.

    Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. — 7/17/2011 @ 1:29 pm

  5. I hadn’t heard about this story. What a shame the school district didn’t anticipate this and find a way to avoid these problems, but it’s an excellent post.

    Comment by DRJ — 8/2/2011 @ 8:09 pm

  6. Rather than allow Christian scripture to be visible on fundraising bricks left wing progs scrap the entire program. I wonder what they would have done if Koranic verses had been submitted instead?…. hmmm.… (California) A California school district has canceled a fundraising program featuring memorial bricks, scuttling proceeds of $45,000, after two women submitted Bible verses in their tributes. The two women, Lou Ann Hart and Sheryl Caronna, had filed a court complaint in January against the Desert Sands Unified School District after the district blocked them from placing the Bible verses on bricks to be installed in walkways at Palm Desert High School in Palm Desert, Calif., about 10 miles east of Palm Springs. The women sought an injunction against the district to compel it to allow the scripture bricks.

    Comment by Lorie Crane — 6/9/2013 @ 2:28 pm

  7. Ooh, what if I wanted to buy a brick citing a SCOTUS precedent about content-neutral speech restrictions?

    Comment by Quibus Vigilius — 1/24/2017 @ 3:37 pm

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