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NY school district agrees to recognize Christian club

Group no longer denied access to benefits offered to other student clubs

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — The Lindenhurst Union Free School District has granted official recognition to a student-led Christian club following a settlement with the Alliance Defense Fund. ADF attorneys filed a federal lawsuit in February after the New York school district repeatedly refused to recognize the group.

“Christian groups shouldn’t be discriminated against for their beliefs,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman. “Such actions are a clear violation of the First Amendment and the Equal Access Act.  We are pleased that the district agreed to reverse the unconstitutional restrictions placed on the group, including where members are allowed to meet.”

The club is now receiving access to the same rights and privileges as other student groups. Lindenhurst High School officials originally refused to grant recognition to the club because of its religious nature. Unlike other clubs, members were barred from meeting in classrooms and were instead forced to apply for facility access as a local community organization.

Under the terms of the settlement outlined in the voluntary dismissal filed with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, school district officials have granted full benefits and privileges to club members and have adopted a resolution in which they promise to comply with the Equal Access Act in the future.

Attorney Charles E. Holster III of Mineola served as local counsel in the case, A.Q. v. Board of Education of Lindenhurst Union Free School District.

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.