So Cal District Ordered To Allow High School Bible Club

An Orange County, Calif. high school has been told it can no longer ban a Bible club from meeting on campus and must offer them listings in the school’s yearbook and website. However, while the preliminary injunction stands until the case goes to trial, district officials say they will now review the school’s club policies and decide whether to fight the suit.

The Los Angeles Times reported that:

Until the federal court ruling, students had been prevented from starting a Bible club at Esperanza High School in Anaheim. Placentia-Yorba Linda School District officials argued that only curriculum-related groups are allowed on campus.

But in issuing a preliminary injunction last Thursday, U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney said that Esperanza does allow other groups — such as a Red Cross club — to meet on campus, even though he said they are not directly related to academics.

That means the district must follow the federal Equal Access Act and 1st Amendment and allow the Bible club to form, Carney said. The club will now be able to meet on campus, have access to an advisor and school supplies, and be listed in the yearbook, complete with a photo.

Kicking and screaming
Apparently, the judge’s decision does not sit well with some…

Supt. Dennis Smith said the Red Cross club is related to the school’s health curriculum. He said other clubs, such as community services groups and a rock climbing club, had also been rejected in the past.

“We don’t necessarily oppose the Bible club,” Smith said, “but it wasn’t within our policy.”

Smith said the district’s policy of not allowing non-curriculum-related clubs has been in place for decades.

Voice of Reason

The Sacramento-based Pacific Justice Institute praised the judge’s order.

“The school district should not be allowed to discriminate against any group of students because of their faith and religious beliefs,” said Brad Dacus, president of the institute.

The group supported the suit, which was filed on behalf of four students who tried to form a Bible club last May.

Full story/LA Times

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