After-School Christian Club Wins Battle Against School Board Discrimination
SAN DIEGO, CA – A federal court judge in California has ruled that Child Evangelism Fellowship of San Diego (CEF) is the prevailing party in a case against the San Diego City School District. Liberty Counsel represents CEF. The school board has discriminated against CEF’s after-school program for children since 1999.
As a result of the ruling, the district must refund the fees it charged CEF, including interest, and pay court-awarded attorney’s fees. The original policy provided access to the school facilities to “organizations, clubs, and associations formed for recreational, educational, political, economic, artistic, or moral purposes.” The district has always allowed free use for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H Clubs, and other similar youth groups, but the district charged for CEF’s Good News Clubs to meet. CEF filed suit when the district refused to provide equal access for the Good News Clubs at the Ericson Elementary School. The district then changed its policy to expressly deny CEF, but Liberty Counsel continued to press the case. The district then adopted a new policy that now provides equal access consistent with the First Amendment.
The federal district court has now ruled that CEF is the prevailing party in the litigation and ordered the school district to repay CEF the fees (plus interest) it wrongly charged the group. The court also ruled that Liberty Counsel is entitled to an award of attorney’s fees for the litigation.
Mathew D. Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented: “Equal access is a simple concept. The government must treat similar groups the same and may not censor religious viewpoints. Good News Clubs are great for kids. Why wouldn’t every public school in America want a group that teaches children to have good moral character and to be respectful of others? Religious bigotry and constitutional amnesia sometimes lead school districts to act against the best interest of their own students.” ?
(Printed courtesy Liberty Counsel)
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