ADF files lawsuit on behalf of students of FCA club denied equal access by school district officials
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund filed a lawsuit Thursday on behalf of public school students whose Christian club was denied equal access by school district officials.
“Christian high school students should not be treated as second-class citizens on campus,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Joel Oster. “School district officials have said that other student clubs are fine, and have given all sorts of privileges to these other groups, but they refuse to recognize this Christian student group just because it’s a religious club. This treatment is unfair and certainly not constitutional.”
Students in the school district formed a campus chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Although the club had been recognized as a student club by the previous superintendent, the current superintendent and the school board stripped them of their official status and have refused to recognize them as a school club.
Officials told FCA that it could meet on campus but would not be officially recognized by the school and would not have access to the same privileges afforded to the officially recognized clubs on campus. Those privileges include 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, school officials said that, unlike the officially recognized clubs on campus, FCA would be charged a fee to hold the activity.
“This student-initiated club does not deserve to be treated differently than other clubs on campus,” said Oster. “To charge this student club a fee because it’s religious while giving a free pass to other student groups is discriminatory and unconstitutional.”
The school district has declined to respond to FCA’s further requests for official recognition and has ignored communications sent by ADF attorneys representing FCA.
ADF is a legal alliance defending the right to hear and speak the Truth through strategy, training, funding, and litigation.