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Group challenges religious e-mail ban

A conservative public interest group sues a Dallas school district, saying its policy of banning employees from sending religious e-mails is illegal.

    A conservative public interest group has sued a Dallas school district, saying its policy of banning employees from sending religious e-mails is illegal.

    The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) said it filed a federal suit Thursday against the Highland Park Independent School District, claiming it unfairly censured district employee LaDonna DeVore.

    The ACLJ said the district had threatened to revoke DeVore's e-mail privileges because she sent out a message containing information about President Bush's proclamation of a National Day of Prayer.

    The ACLJ said it's challenging the district's communications policy--which prohibits "religious worship" and "proselytizing"--because, among other things, it violates the First Amendment by unfairly singling out religious speech. The group said the district allows employees to send a range of private messages, including jokes and invitations.

    "The law is clear," Stuart J. Roth, senior counsel of the ACLJ, said in a statement. "If a school district permits employees to communicate a wide variety of both work-related and private messages, it cannot prohibit a message from being communicated because its content is religious in nature."

    Highland Park representatives did not immediately return requests for comment.