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Long road to recognition, but N.Y. high school Christian club finally gets approval

Schenectady City School District grants Christian student group official recognition
Published On: 10/18/2017

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — Officials at Schenectady City School District who previously resisted granting official recognition to a Christian student club have changed their minds.  Alliance Defense Fund attorneys came to the club’s defense through communication with the school about the students’ First Amendment rights.

“Christian students on campus should not be treated as second-class citizens,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeff Shafer.  “ADF is pleased that the school finally did the right thing by recognizing the Christian students’ First Amendment rights.  The Supreme Court has affirmed the right of religious clubs to meet on public school campuses to the same extent as other kinds of clubs.  The requirement of equal access means just that—equal.”

Since 2003, a group of students at Schenectady High School have been seeking official recognition of a student Christian club to no avail.  A student contacted ADF for help, and Shafer sent a letter to school officials advising them to honor the student’s constitutional rights.

On Feb. 1, the school board authorized the establishment of the Schenectady High School Christian Alliance.

“Though too long in coming, this was the right resolution to an inequitable situation,” said Shafer.  “The school board is to be commended for recognizing students’ rights of equal access to school facilities.”

ADF is a legal alliance defending America’s first liberty--religious freedom--through strategy, training, funding, and litigation.

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