A high school in New York’s informed a 14-year-old she can’t form a student club because it would be “religious.”
As reported by Fox News, Daniela Barca has repeatedly requested to start a club at Ketcham High. Per a letter sent to the school Wednesday by law firm First Liberty Institute, the rejection constitutes a “purposeful violation of the Equal Access Act of 1984.”
In a statement, Daniela explained her desire for a pro-Christian group at school:
“Sometimes I feel like I’m the only Christian at my school and I thought others might feel the same way. So, I wanted to start a club at school so we can support each other in our beliefs. I hope the superintendent lets me start the club and does whatever it takes to make sure religious clubs are treated like all the other clubs.”
The story began last fall when the teen submitted her application, which was at first “lost” then deemed inappropriate.
The principal denied her request, suggesting the school could not support a religious club like it did for other, secular clubs.
After an appeal to the assistant principal, it was allegedly suggested that the club couldn’t be formed “‘to gather and talk about spreading the hope of Jesus’ unless it modified its viewpoint to something more ‘generic’ and ‘couldn’t limit it to the Christian Faith.’”
Daniela and her dad presented multiple school district officials with the Equal Access Act, to no avail.
First Liberty’s Keisha Russell claims the school’s administration “engaged in purposeful, intentional religious discrimination against Daniela for months. We hope this school district ends its clearly unlawful behavior and protects the religious liberty of every student in all its schools.”
But Superintendent Jose Carrion told Fox News the school system “recognizes the rights of student-initiated, non-curricular groups to organize and meet in accordance with the Equal Access Act.”
Furthermore, the district “fully anticipate[s] this matter will be resolved as per the Equal Access Act.”
As indicated in the letter, First Liberty believes it will have to, by way of letting Daniela form the club:
As the U.S. Supreme Court explained, religious clubs must be afforded the same recognition, access and rights as other noncurricular clubs.
I continue to be stunned by what schools are doing these days. And in their incorporation of social engineering — to the apparent detriment of academics — they sometimes seem biased in favor of the few over the many. Christianity is the largest religion in the world; if clubs with debatable viewpoints are allowed, why wouldn’t Daniela’s get a crack at it?
It sounds like Ketcham will get around to it. Maybe they’ve just been too busy working out that new math; as we’ve seen previously, it can take a while:
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