Michael Leal, a high school senior at Cascade High School won a district-wide lawsuit on Friday, May 29. What first began as a burning desire to share the gospel with his classmates turned into a fight to uphold the Freedom of Speech, a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. The student was suspended three times from school after sharing the Gospel with his classmates on campus.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilly ruled that the Everett School District policy had violated the U.S. Constitution. According to KIRO-TV, Leal was awarded taxable costs. Furthermore, Cascade High School created a free speech zone on campus, located next to a statue of the school’s mascot.
Leal was suspended for the first time after preaching about Jesus at a school event. The next time, he was suspended for preaching and handing out gospel tracts to students on campus. The gospel tract is a 53-page booklet entitled, “How To Know God.” It is made up of mostly Bible verses. Leal was suspended for the third time after getting caught by school officials for passing a gospel tract to a classmate during class time.
"Why share the gospel with the whole world? Because, it is necessary. Everyone needs to hear the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is absolutely necessary," said Leal.
Everett School District bans students from handing out printed materials that they did not produce or write. Cascade High School suspended Leal, utilizing on-campus police officers on the grounds that Leal broke the school policy. Leal decided to take the matter to court in Fall 2014.
“Students don’t leave their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse door,” said Conrad Reynolds, Leal’s attorney in an interview with FOX news in 2014.
Leal stated in an interview that he once heard a man preaching about the gospel outside of his campus. It was after this encounter that he developed a true interest in God. Leal attributes this experience as what led him to repentance and a “complete life and faith in Christ.”