ADF attorneys planning to appeal 9th Circuit ruling against Christian student group at public high school
SEATTLE — Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund are planning to appeal Friday’s ruling from a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in Truth v. Kent Public School District. The court ruled that a public high school in Washington state did not violate the U.S. Constitution when it refused to recognize a Christian student club because the club required its members to adhere to a Christian code of conduct.
“Public high school officials cannot treat Christian students on campus as second-class citizens,” said ADF Legal Counsel Tim Chandler. “The school district’s so-called ‘non-discrimination’ policy is supposed to prevent discrimination on campus. Instead, the school officials are using the policy to discriminate against the Truth Bible Club, which simply wanted the same access as other groups at Kentridge High.”
For nearly two years, Kentridge High School officials stonewalled students Sarice Undis and Julianne Stewart after they submitted an application for a club charter in September 2001. The school instructed them to apply again in 2003, but school officials then rejected two additional applications as well. ADF Senior Counsel Nate Kellum argued the case before the 9th Circuit on behalf of Undis and Stewart in July 2006.
“Unfortunately, this decision allows the officials at Kent School District to deny a Christian student group access to the benefits and privileges afforded to all other student groups on campus,” Chandler said. “This is a gross violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution and the Equal Access Act, which Congress passed specifically to protect student clubs like this one.”
Robert Tyler of Advocates for Faith and Freedom and Keith Kemper of Ellis, Li, & McKinstry PLLP in Seattle serve as co-counsel with ADF on the case.
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.