Liberty Alerts, Liberty Counsel
The Pajaro Valley Unified School District approved Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) of Santa Cruz County to distribute permission slips for it’s Good News Club after-school program for students. The district originally did not allow CEF to distribute permission slips, simply because the slips contained the word “Bible,” describing “Bible stories.” Liberty Counsel represents CEF in this case.
CEF was told by the district that the word “Bible” in its permission slip must be removed in order to utilize the school’s flyer distribution channels. The district’s flyer distribution policy prohibited distribution of anything the district considered to be promoting a specific religion or “proselytizing.” CEF called Liberty Counsel, which wrote a letter to the district requesting an immediate amendment of their policy and approval of CEF’s flyers for distribution. The district responded with an abrupt reversal and expedited decision to allow CEF to distribute its permission slips.
The superintendent was under the misguided impression that the Establishment Clause prohibited literature distributed to the students from containing a religious reference. Liberty Counsel has represented CEF in numerous similar cases, as this misconception is common among public school districts. An overwhelming majority of these cases are successfully settled without having to file a lawsuit.
Mathew D. Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, commented: “The Supreme Court has clearly ruled that public schools must provide equal access and treatment to religious speech. Equal treatment applies to use of facilities and every other opportunity provided to secular speech or groups. We are pleased that the school district did the right thing after the officials learned of the law regarding the First Amendment. Good News Clubs have been widely accepted on public school campuses across the country. They provide great programs for children.”
Used with permission of Liberty Counsel.