KASU

First Amendment

Arkansas State Capitol
Wikipedia.org

  LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Opponents of a Ten Commandments display at the Arkansas state Capitol filed federal lawsuits Wednesday to have the monument removed, arguing it's an unconstitutional endorsement of religion by government

Just minutes ahead of a scheduled hearing in Pulaski County Circuit Court, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge asked a federal court to take up a lawsuit against her that alleges she’s obstructing ballot initiatives.

It did, and the hearing was postponed.

In a statement afterward, her office said the attorney general “removed this case to federal court because the plaintiffs asserted claims under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, the federal court is the proper forum to hear the case."

Students and adults in Jonesboro joined the crowds elsewhere in the state and the nation on Saturday for a March for Our Lives protest demanding gun control and other measures to help stop mass shootings, but the Jonesboro rally was also a remembrance of the Westside Middle School shooting exactly 20 years earlier.

“Just because we are students, just because we are kids does not mean we do not understand this issue.  We have a voice,” said Mohannad Al-Hindi, a senior at Jonesboro High School.

“I’m just wondering how many more school shootings it’s going to take,” said Makyla Norvell, 15, who attends Riverside High School.

Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas is no stranger to protest. Sixty years ago, following the Supreme Court's historic Brown v. Board of Education ruling, Central drew national attention as nine black students attempted to integrate the previously all-white school.

Hundreds of students at Little Rock’s Central High School walked out of class Wednesday in a show of solidarity with young people conducting similar demonstrations at schools across the nation and outside the White House.

At Central, students chanted slogans like “books not bullets” and “this is what democracy looks like,” while holding handmade signs that read things like “Never again,” “Central stands with Parkland,” and “Why are we still talking about this?”

Arkansas school students are expected to join thousands around the country March 14 in a national school walkout at 10 a.m. (local time). Billed as “Enough,” the demonstration is a coordinated public response to the shooting last month at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

It’s expected to last 17 minutes — one for each victim.

In Fayetteville, school officials are helping students coordinate a walkout at 10 a.m., though a district document also recognizes that some students have obtained a permit from the city to march on the Washington Count Courthouse — a demonstration the district has gently warned against.

Pixabay

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Some Arkansas public schools will begin displaying hundreds of posters proclaiming the national motto of "In God we trust" over objections from First Amendment groups who say the state is using the artwork to promote Christianity.

SEARCY, Ark. (AP) - A public school in north-central Arkansas has removed Bible verses from the walls after an anonymous complaint was made to a nonprofit supporting the separation of church and state.

The Daily Citizen reports that posters displaying scriptures had been hung in the choir room of Searcy High School.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Student journalists would largely be shielded from censorship by their schools under legislation that has won first-round approval in the House.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the idea started to gain traction in the 2016 legislative session. It stemmed from frustration over University of Missouri communications professor Melissa Click, calling for "muscle" to remove student journalists during November 2015 protests.

Pixabay

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri lawmakers are considering a bill that would increase penalties for protesters who block highways.

The Columbia Missourian reports that a Missouri Senate committee heard the bill this week.