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Virginia Pays $25,000 For Denying Student Right To Preach

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The state of Virginia is on the hook for $25,000 after a community college in the state prevented a student from preaching in public.

As reported at Campus Reform, Christian Parks, an evangelical Christian, was prevented from preaching two separate times last fall in a public courtyard at Thomas Nelson Community College. Campus officials told Parks that only recognized student groups were allowed to demonstrate on campus, and they had to apply at least four days in advance and stay within designated areas.

Parks, backed by the conservative legal non-profit Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), sued last March, claiming his First Amendment rights were violated.

According to a state judge, outdoor areas within the Virginia Community College System are “venues for free expression,” and so the school’s speech limitation rules, which had existed since the 1960s, had to go.

The nominal damages for the college’s overreach are only $1, but the school must also pay out $24,999 in legal fees to the ADF, the conservative legal non-profit that represented Parks.

The lawsuit was resolved in less than three months, as Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring decided not to defend the policy in court.

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