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ADF attorneys file suit against Ariz. school district after discriminatory treatment of Christian club

School officials refused to allow club to promote campus prayer event
Published
Krestan v. Deer Valley Unified School District

PHOENIX — Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against the Deer Valley Unified School District after school officials prevented a Christian student club from inviting students during morning announcements over the PA system to attend a non-instructional time prayer meeting.  School officials prohibited the announcement, a privilege that all other clubs enjoy, because it contained the word “prayer.”

“Christians shouldn’t be penalized for expressing their religious beliefs since they have the same constitutional rights as everyone else,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman.  “In this case, these students simply wanted to use the same official school communication channels that other clubs are allowed to use to promote their events.  The Constitution specifically prohibits government officials from singling out religious groups for censorship.”

On Jan. 14, a student representing the Common Cause club at Mountain Ridge High School submitted a request to announce their weekly prayer meeting, held before school at 7:20 a.m. at the school flagpole, during morning announcement time.  The next day, the assistant principal told the student that the announcement would not be permitted because it contained the word “prayer.”  When the student asked for the return of her announcement, the assistant principal allegedly ripped it up and discarded it in front of her.

“Denying Christians their constitutional rights simply because they choose to exercise them in a public place is unconstitutional,” said Cortman.  “These students simply wanted to pray before school and to invite others to join them.  We hope that the court will affirm the right of these students to do so.”

ADF is a legal alliance defending the right to hear and speak the Truth through strategy, training, funding, and litigation.