High school student: I’ve been suspended 3 times for preaching, handing out Bible tracts

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Michael Leal says the Everett School District suspended him 3 times in October for preaching, handing out Bible tracts at school. (Photo: KCPQ-TV)

EVERETT, Wash. — Michael Leal says he preaches the message from the gospel and hands out Bible tracts every day at his high school — actions that allegedly got him suspended three times in one month.

“Lately it’s been outside, maybe a few times inside, it really depends on where I’m at and where the people are at, as well,” Leal said Wednesday.

The senior at Cascade High School in Everett says he was suspended three times in the month of October for preaching and handing out Bible tracts during school hours on school grounds.

“It’s usually during quiet time, self time, time for yourself, or lunch, after school, before school, stuff like that. I never try to do it to disrupt the school schedule at all,” Leal said.

After the first suspension, Leal said he contacted an attorney to send the school district a different message.

"Students  don't leave their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse door," said Conrad Reynolds, Leal's attorney.

Leal said other students complained and that’s what led to his suspension.

"That's what really started it all right there, just kids complaining, 'He's preaching, we don't want to hear it, it's offending us, it's upsetting us,'" Leal said.

Reynolds said this is a violation of Leal's constitutional rights, saying the student should be allowed to hand out religious pamphlets and preach at school in the halls or the lunchroom if he chooses.

The Everett School District confirmed it did receive a lawsuit from Leal's attorney Wednesday,  but refused to comment on Leal's suspensions or on the details of the suit.

"We believe really strongly that if any point of view is restricted, then that hurts everyone's free speech," Reynolds said.

The lawyer said he hopes to change the school policy when it comes to handing out literature.

In the meantime, Leal hopes his message is getting across.

"I feel my rights were being impinged to speak and to express what I believe in," Leal said.

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144 comments

  • Brittany B

    First off I would like to comment on behalf of cascade. People are getting the story twisted and saying that we aren’t letting him talk about God. This is not the case. We have a good amount of kids at cascade who are Christian. We have had prayer circles out front, we’ve discussed God, and we have always been able to speak our mind. This is not the case with Michael he yells at you telling you to accept God now or you’re going to hell and more. He DOES disrupt class I’ve had three classes with him in which he has interrupted class to start preaching and telling everyone they are going to hell. He does not do this on quiet time. He also does not respect boudreies you can’t force a religion on people who simply don’t want to and this is what he does. He doesn’t respect the student body. As a Christian myself I am able to express my views and school but don’t force them on people. No one is telling him he can’t believe in God or can’t preach the word. It’s gotten to the point where he attacks students, disrupts class, and makes students feel uncomfortable even very religious students feel this way. It annoys me that everyone looks up to him as someone who is just preaching the word of God because he is not he’s bullying kids with the word of God. It is not his job to tell students what to believe in that’s for students to find out on their own it’s not ok for him to shove his views down our throats. I’m sick of news teams getting the story wrong and acting like what he is doing is ok! It is not ok for him to attack students and disrupt class.

    • Phil Moon

      Well said Brittany. From comments made by another student (via his mother) I heard the same thing. I am not Christian, but have no problem when student form religious (all faiths/non-faiths) clubs and express their views as long as others who are not Christian have the same opportunities; and everyone on all sides of the subject know when/when not to speak. Keep it civil.

      • mason mcgrew

        well my name is mason leroy mcgrew i went to everett high school just down the road and hung out with him after school he also went to my church he was kind respectful and always a great kid so dont lie after your dumb ass got caught go ask scpo carl arbogast and cdr rick giles at the njrotc department about me they will vouch for me and this kid

  • Josh Janson

    I’m with the school on this one. Schools should be a safe place for kids of ALL religions, and they shouldn’t feel like they are being preached at in such a public, government sanctioned location. Imagine if this was a Muslim boy doing this. No one would be on his side. If he wants to start a Christian club, then he should do that, but not during lunches or in the school’s hallways.

  • Chloe

    As a recent graduate of Casacde, I feel like there is more to the story than what is being shown. I can remember seeing signs throughout the school saying things like “pray for (various cause)” several times in my 4 years there, as well as prayer circles taking place, so this school is not one to shut down people’s beliefs.

  • thetractman

    And the world loves darkness rather than light because it’s deeds are evil. I bet if he was warning people in the hallway that the school was on fire to save their life no one would complain. But, what he warns of is much more serious. What will happen to you when you die? life or death? There are no good people, no matter what you think. If you have told 1 lie, stolen anything regardless of the value, looked with lust, hated anyone which is equal to murder according to Jesus, then you have sinned! God must punish sin if He is good. That punishment is eternal and in hell. But Christ took that punishment for you, it’s His gift to you who trust in Him alone for life. Jesus-it’s the only name where by man can be saved. Not your name! This young man warns those who hear to flee the wrath to come that they might live!

  • Bonita

    People do NOT have a right to never be offended. He has a right to say what he feels and believes. I was offended by the teacher teaching that my ancestors were monkeys when I was a student, yet I had to put up with it and still behave. I was offended b other students as well, yet I behaved and did not try to get the other people into trouble. People are so soft these days and run and cry to mommy or the principal over anything that hurts their little feelings.

  • Daniel

    Romans 1:16
    “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation, to everyone who believes”. Jesus said that if you deny Him before men, He will deny you before His Father in Heaven. To deny Him doesn’t only mean say I don’t believe in You but also be ashamed to where people can’t even realize there is something different about you. Jesus said to truly follow Him would cost you to be reviled by this world, read it for yourself. I’m just quoting what the Bible says. I leave you with this, if it makes you mad as a Christian then you need to truly go back to the Scriptures and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you what it truly means “pick up your cross and follow Jesus”.
    May God bless you and may His grace and mercy be poured out on you today.

  • Dennis D

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or denying the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech….” This is the way the first amendment starts out. Where do you see the phrase “separation of church and state”????? This phrase is in the old Soviet Constitution, but it is not in the U.S. Constitution. The early Americans did not want the new federal government interfering in the religious life of the individual states. That is why the first amendment was written. Some of the states had a state church and they did not want the new federal government interfering.

    • kim

      Really? You need a civics lesson? The phrase “separation of church and state” is inherent to the First Amendment. Because education is mandated, and federal monies are used in public schools, any authority in a public place cannot use his authority to promote ANY religion. This means teachers, counselors, principals, superintendents, in the performance of their job, cannot enforce THEIR belief system on the people they have authority over. As public servants receiving government funds, they are the extension of Congress who mandates the education. The same holds true of any public authority who receives funding from the federal government.
      I would be interested in any evidence you have that any State in the Union has an “official” state religion.

  • Dennis D

    As long as Michael is not interrupting the teachers’ lectures, leave him alone. It is good to hear alternate views. That is part of the educational process in a free country. If your feelings get hurt, cry on your mama’s lap when you get home. For those who want him to go to a Christian school, realize that his parents are probably paying a lot of real estate tax to support the public school system which should tolerate all viewpoints, not just the agnostic evolutionists.
    Did Michael mentioned “hell”. That is soooo scary! Find someone’s hand to hold and stay out of the shadows.

  • Randy Rackov

    I was reading some of the comments. It seems that the news is intentionally omitting the testimony of the other students. Micheal certainly has the right to speak his mind on his beliefs and to share them with others. This right should not be infringed upon. However, reading some of the other comments, it seems that the manner in which he speaks is not appropriate for anyone at school. Shouting at people, even in a public area during free time is just not acceptable whether you are preaching about God or selling tickets to Homecoming. Following people around who ask to be left alone is violating their rights. I am all for allowing students to share Jesus with other students; however, on school campus there are some restrictions to how you can speak and when a person says, “no thank you” it is time to move to someone else. Speak the Word Micheal. Speak the truth in love but don’t try and replace the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can change a heart with one word where all the words you speak through your whole life won’t change even one heart if spoken apart from God.

  • Luke W

    I congratulate this man for sanding up and telling people about god, he has changed so many teens lives for the better, i hope he wins the court case

  • Nickolaus A. Pacione

    Reblogged this on An Author's Blog and commented:
    What I am working on one of them will help someone like this change the approach how this Senior will be able to approach his faith in God — I want to reach out to this teenager and see one of those tracts. The reason I am working on the Lock ‘n Key Project and what I did with my namesakes gave a way for Chrsitians not to get suspended but leave the doors open to discuss their faith in God without given a load of shit. Especially this is in the area where Christine Morgan lives and happened during when I was preparing my testimony for publication on CreateSpace.com. I amire this kid’s guts but damn man; you need to be a little more creative how you do this.     Kid I admire your guts but you need to be more creative how you are going to accomplish what you will accomplish because having my column in college was how I touched many hearts; the whole thing with being uncensored was effective with how I did things. I knew I am off-the-cuff and that’s what made what I did effective. I am working on new material that does invoke critical thought and Christians (young earth types really don’t apply critical thought in what they do.) I found out one of the Creation Liberty members does hang out in one of the larger groups I am a regular of. With this kid has he burned a book or burned down a library?

  • Jillian

    But you do leave your rights at the door, the laws are stated that you can not preach at school, now if he is arguing the law than ok, but he is arguing with the school. Something that the school has absolutely nothing to do with…. He’s barking up the wrong tree.