Liberty Counsel Wins Equal Access for Good News Club

Jun 4, 2004

Mount Vernon, WA - Liberty Counsel just received a letter from the superintendent of the Mount Vernon School District in response to our demand that the district stop discriminating against Child Evangelism Fellowship in the use of school facilities. The district had refused to allow Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF), to have meeting announcements distributed to students, although information is distributed for nonreligious groups. After receiving Liberty Counsel’s demand, the district has now agreed to allow the announcements to be distributed to students.

Good News Clubs are free afterschool programs for elementary students that are designed to teach the Bible, morals and character development. Equal access is important for Good News Clubs, because the Club do not grow very quickly in schools where students are unaware of the meetings.

This was not CEF’s first difficulty with club meetings in the Mount Vernon School District. Last year, Liberty Counsel helped CEF gain free access to start the first Good News Club in the district. Until Liberty Counsel intervened, the district insisted that CEF pay a fee for use of school facilities, although other nonprofit organizations were given free use. The district agreed to waive the fee after we sent a letter explaining the law. CEF now has five Good News Clubs in the district.

The United States Supreme Court decision known as Good News Club v. Milford Central School District, cleared the way for religious after-school clubs. In that case, a New York school district banned the Good News Club from meeting on an elementary school campus after school solely because of the Club's religious instruction. The High Court ruled that since the district allowed other after-school meetings, such as scout troops, the school could not ban the Good News Club solely because of its religious viewpoint. Despite the clear message that discrimination against religious viewpoints is unconstitutional, some government officials still have not understood the impact of this case.

Mathew D. Staver, President and General Counsel for Liberty Counsel stated, "Equal access means equal treatment. We will vigorously advocate for Child Evangelism Fellowship until school officials in every district in America stop discriminating against Good News Clubs." Staver continued, "All children should have the opportunity to learn morals and character development in these clubs." Staver concluded, “Last year, we were successful in gaining equal access for Good News Clubs in over 400 elementary schools in the Los Angeles area.”

- Liberty Counsel just received a letter from the superintendent of the Mount Vernon School District in response to our demand that the district stop discriminating against Child Evangelism Fellowship in the use of school facilities. The district had refused to allow Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF), to have meeting announcements distributed to students, although information is distributed for nonreligious groups. After receiving Liberty Counsel’s demand, the district has now agreed to allow the announcements to be distributed to students.

Good News Clubs are free afterschool programs for elementary students that are designed to teach the Bible, morals and character development. Equal access is important for Good News Clubs, because the Club do not grow very quickly in schools where students are unaware of the meetings.

This was not CEF’s first difficulty with club meetings in the Mount Vernon School District. Last year, Liberty Counsel helped CEF gain free access to start the first Good News Club in the district. Until Liberty Counsel intervened, the district insisted that CEF pay a fee for use of school facilities, although other nonprofit organizations were given free use. The district agreed to waive the fee after we sent a letter explaining the law. CEF now has five Good News Clubs in the district.

The United States Supreme Court decision known as Good News Club v. Milford Central School District, cleared the way for religious after-school clubs. In that case, a New York school district banned the Good News Club from meeting on an elementary school campus after school solely because of the Club's religious instruction. The High Court ruled that since the district allowed other after-school meetings, such as scout troops, the school could not ban the Good News Club solely because of its religious viewpoint. Despite the clear message that discrimination against religious viewpoints is unconstitutional, some government officials still have not understood the impact of this case.

Mathew D. Staver, President and General Counsel for Liberty Counsel stated, "Equal access means equal treatment. We will vigorously advocate for Child Evangelism Fellowship until school officials in every district in America stop discriminating against Good News Clubs." Staver continued, "All children should have the opportunity to learn morals and character development in these clubs." Staver concluded, “Last year, we were successful in gaining equal access for Good News Clubs in over 400 elementary schools in the Los Angeles area.”

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