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Bible Club Victory in Utah

Earlier this year in Utah, a public school teacher named Konnie Pacheco of the Grand County School District wanted to participate in after-school meetings of the Good News Club on school grounds.  Citing concerns about complying with the Establishment Clause, the School District would not permit her to participate in the meetings.  We wrote a demand letter on behalf of Konnie, threatening to file suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah unless the District met our demands.  After two weeks of negotiating with the School Board through its attorney, we have secured the right of Konnie to participate in Good News Club meetings.

This is a significant out-of-court victory. Though we believe Konnie's First Amendment rights were clearly violated, only one Court of Appeals has ever squarely addressed this issue:  Wigg v. Sioux Falls School District 49-5, 382 F.3d 807 (8th Cir.  2004) (holding that a public school teacher has the First Amendment right to participate in after-school meetings of religious clubs and rejecting the school district's argument that the Establishment Clause prohibited her actions).

Thanks to our intervention, Konnie, as well as two other teachers in the school district, are now able to teach at Good News Club meetings.  For more details on this story, see this article from The Salt Lake Tribune.




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