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Preschool director's statement following oral arguments at US Supreme Court

Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017
Trinity Lutheran Child Learning Center Director Annette Kiehne made the following statement Wednesday outside the U.S. Supreme Court following oral arguments in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer:

“My name is Annette Kiehne, and I am director of the Child Learning Center at Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Missouri. All of us at Trinity Lutheran are deeply grateful to the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court for hearing our case this morning. For six-and-a-half years, I’ve had the privilege of working with the boys and girls who attend our school … with the parents who entrust those children to our care … and with the teachers who share my commitment to providing a safe, joyful, rewarding learning experience for these children and their families. We have a wonderful job.

“Here is something you learn very quickly, working with children: A kid is a kid. Playground time, for a child, is about play. And play should be safe; safety shouldn’t hinge on whether a child is religious or they are playing on a playground at a religious school or at a secular or public institution.

“This is about working together to help keep our kids safe when they play—wherever they play. The safety of all children should matter to all of us. Most of the children who come to our preschool are from families who don’t go to our church. And a lot of children who play on our playground are from the surrounding neighborhood; they come with their families in the evening and on weekends.

“We aren’t asking for special treatment. We are just asking to not be treated worse than everyone else. Whether you are a Jewish, Muslim, or Christian kid, or not religious at all, when you fall down on a playground, it hurts just as much at a religious preschool as it does at a non-religious one. We trust and pray that the Supreme Court will consider that carefully, and rule in favor of the safety of children everywhere. Thank you.”
  • Pronunciation guide: Kiehne (KEE’-nee)
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
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ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer on April 19, 2017. (Art Lien,
ADF President, CEO, and General Counsel Michael Farris speaking outside the U.S. Supreme Court following the oral arguments in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer on April 19, 2017. ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman, who argued for Trinity Lutheran Church before the high court, is to the right of Farris.