Battling Anew Over the Place of Religion in Public Schools “The free-speech rights of students and teachers are under an all-out assault,” said Kelly Shackelford, president of the Liberty Institute, a Christian legal group in Plano, Tex. He described one continuing legal case in which “children had pencils ripped out of their hands” because they carried a Christian message and students were “banned from writing Merry Christmas to the soldiers.”