Unless it’s the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
The student clubs can use bulletin boards for announcements.
Unless it’s the FCA.
And students can use the school’s public address system.
Unless they’re in the FCA.
And that, First Liberty explains, violates the law.
“We request that the Hardin County School District immediately cease its unlawful restrictions on religious speech and assembly, and adopt a written policy that guarantees the religious liberty rights of its students, teachers and staff,” the letter said.
“The district should immediately allow students in FCA or any other religious club to meet at all times when other noncurriculum student groups are meeting and grant these organizations equal access to school facilities such as the PA system, bulletin boards, and other school property.”
The school district declined a request from WND to comment Friday.
“The singling out of students involved with FCA is exactly the kind of hostility toward religion that the law prevents,” said Roger Byron, senior counsel for First Liberty Institute. “Hardin County school officials are acting like they are above federal law. They must treat students who are members of FCA equally.”
His group explained: “School officials prohibit faculty and staff in FCA from meeting during non-instructional time even though other student clubs meet at the same time. Furthermore … school policy prohibits members of the FCA from announcing meetings through the public announcement system or from having bulletin boards displaying FCA’s activities because of the club’s religious viewpoint like other student clubs can.”
The letter cites the Equal Access Act of 1984, which bars discrimination against students based on religion.
“Banning religious clubs and students from meeting when other clubs meet is nothing more than discrimination,” said Byron. “We hope this school district ends its clearly unlawful behavior and protects the religious liberty of everyone on campus.”
The organization offered to help the district create policies and procedures that comply with the law and recognize the needs of the district.
But otherwise, it could pursue a legal case on behalf of its clients.
“By singling out religious groups and providing them inferior access to school resources than that provided other noncurricular groups, the district shows a hostility to religion that itself violates the Establishment Clause,” the letter said.
Liberty Institute is seeking treatment for the Christians in FCA equal to that offered to members of the Photography Club, Pep Club, Friends of Rachel, Culture Club and the Beta Club.