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Student, not allowed to hand out U.S. Constitutions freely, wins $50K settlement from school

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Modesto Junior CollegeA California student who was shut down last year while trying to hand out copies of the Constitution on the day we celebrate that very document has ultimately prevailed, to the tune of $50,000.

Officials at Modesto Junior College told student Robert Van Tuinen in September that he could only hand out the U.S. Constitution at a tiny designated “cement area” on campus, and only then if it was arranged ahead of time.

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The entire incident was captured on video, with the story being elevated to a national level after Fox News picked it up.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education agreed to take Van Tuinen’s case to federal court, and that effort resulted in a $50,000 settlement this week, according to Fox News. Modesto also agreed to revise its policies “to allow free speech in open areas across campus.”

“They were maintaining an unconstitutional speech code, and now any of my fellow students can go out and exercise their right to free speech,” Van Tuinen told Fox News.

While most of the $50,000 will be absorbed by the attorneys, he said whatever is left over will come in handy paying other bills.

Little victories.

Tom Tillison

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