ADF and school district settle case involving FCA club denied recognition on campus
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund reached a settlement with Pleasanton School District whereby the school district will grant official recognition to a Christian student group previously denied equal access to privileges offered to other student groups on campus.
“Christian students should not be treated as second-class citizens on campus,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Joel Oster. “Thankfully, we were able to reach a settlement with school officials to make sure this Christian student group has the same access and privileges as other groups on campus.”
Students in the school district formed a Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter on their school campus and were recognized as an official student club on campus by the previous administration. But a new superintendent and the school board stripped FCA of their official status and refused to recognize them as a school club.
Officially recognized school clubs within the school district enjoy privileges such as the use of school facilities for special events at no charge, the use of school vehicles for trips, the ability to fundraise on campus, and inclusion in the school yearbook. In October 2005, when FCA requested permission to hold an after-school rally on campus, school officials attempted to charge FCA a fee to hold the activity, even though other student groups at the school were allowed to hold rallies without paying such fees.
ADF attorneys filed a lawsuit on behalf of student members of FCA in 2006, and in January a federal judge granted a motion for preliminary injunction to ensure the Christian student group would have equal access while the case moved forward. Friday ADF attorneys and the school district reached an agreement in McKee v. Pleasanton Unified School District, settling the case for good.
“Demanding that one student group pay a fee to hold a rally while other student groups were allowed to hold rallies free of charge is unfair treatment under the law,” said Oster. “Christian student groups should not have to go to court just to be treated fairly by school officials, but we are glad this problem on campus has been resolved.”
ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.