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Vt. school recognizes Bible club after ADF attorneys file suit

Student-run “Youth Alive” club now entitled to same rights as other campus clubs at Middlebury Union High School
Published On: 10/18/2017

BURLINGTON, Vt. — As a result of a settlement reached Tuesday between Alliance Defense Fund attorneys and the Middlebury Union High School District, school officials will grant a student-run Bible club formal recognition.  The change will allow members to gain access to the same benefits afforded to other campus clubs.

“Christian student groups should not be penalized because of their beliefs.  They are entitled to the same rights and privileges as any other student group on campus,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman.  “We are pleased the school has reversed course and will now officially recognize the ‘Youth Alive’ club.”

In July, Middlebury officials rejected a student’s written request for official recognition of the “Youth Alive” club.  While the school permitted the group to meet, it denied the group access to benefits enjoyed by other campus student organizations because the club’s purpose was religious.

School officials granted official recognition to a number of other past and current non-curriculum-related clubs, including the Gay/Straight Organization, the Arabic Club, the Outing Club, and the Student Coalition on Human Rights.

ADF attorneys filed suit against the Middlebury Union High School District in October.

“The First Amendment and the Equal Access Act do not allow discrimination based on religion,” said Cortman.  “Denying certain clubs equal access rights because of the participants’ religious views is a clearly unconstitutional.  The school district has certainly done the right thing in agreeing to respect the constitutional rights of students.”

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

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