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By CeCe Heil1329860696000

We were contacted by the Director of a Child Evangelism Fellowship organization in Pennsylvania. The organization had successfully started after-school Good News Club programs at various public schools in the area, but the Principal of one elementary school denied their request. Various curriculum-related and non-curriculum related activities and group meetings occurred at the school after hours, including Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts meetings.

We spoke with the Director about the situation and sent him a personalized letter explaining that the First Amendment requires public elementary and secondary schools to treat religious student groups the same as non-religious student groups. The ACLJ has represented and assisted numerous groups dealing with similar situations over the past quarter century, including in cases that were decided by the Supreme Court of the United States. These include Lamb’s Chapel v. Center Moriches School District, 508 U.S. 384 (1993), in which the Court held that denying a church access to public school premises after school hours to show a film series on parenting violated the First Amendment, and Board of Education v. Mergens, 496 U.S. 226 (1990), in which the Court held that allowing a student Bible club to meet on a public school’s campus did not violate the Establishment Clause.

We recently received an email back from the Director of the Child Evangelism Fellowship group that said:

I heard today – our flyers have been approved for distribution. . . . [T]he letter was extremely helpful! It made the difference in our gaining access to hold the After School Good News Club . . . . The day after I emailed the letter to them, the principal and elementary superintendent agreed to meet with us, whereas before they were refusing to even meet to talk. It was a very positive meeting and has been positive in all our correspondence since. Thank you for your efforts on our behalf. Again, I appreciate your assistance and support.

We are pleased with this outcome and will continue to help religious groups obtain equal access to public facilities across the country.

Defending Students Religious Liberty

By Olivia Summers1429798745424

Every week, numerous families, from all across America, contact us at the ACLJ because their children who are public school students have been told they cannot bring their Bibles or Rosaries to school. Why not? Because they may offend other students. For the same unconstitutional reasons, the...

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The Battle Continues for Equal Access

By Walter M. Weber1427752645381

The U.S. Supreme Court today issued an order declining, without explanation, to review the case of Bronx Household of Faith v. The Board of Education of the City of New York . This denial puts an unfortunate end to a more-than-decade long battle between a New York City church and the city’s...

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The Constant Defense Against Tyranny

By Edward White1427310374782

An ever-growing federal government seeks to control the populace. That is the nature of the beast. Those in power want more power. They want no opposition. As Thomas Jefferson stated, “History has informed us that bodies of men, as well as individuals, are susceptible of the spirit of tyranny.” And...

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Defending Rights for the Discriminated

By Carly F. Gammill1427120936000

Last year we filed a lawsuit on behalf of Brandon Jenkins, a student who was denied admission to the Radiation Therapy Program at the Community College of Baltimore County (a public college) after he expressed a religious viewpoint during the program’s admissions process. Because Mr. Jenkins had...

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