By Jason Patterson | USA
Lyon County School District in Yerington, Nevada has recently banned Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley from giving handouts to students in the school district. Lyon County has distributed flyers to the student body for events, such as outdoor programs, sports leagues, LGBT support meetings and a variety of community organizations.
The school district decided to ban Calvary Chapel from passing out fliers for similar events, including fundraising, community service, and youth group because they included phrases like “God,” “prayer,” “worship music” and “devotional.” This goes against the 1st Amendment, which is why a legal case is developing.
“Not only is this practice unconstitutional, it defeats the very purpose of providing community information,” said Amber Williams, an associate attorney with Lipson Neilson, in a statement provided to Fox News.
Lipson Neilson, the attorney for this case sent a letter to the Lyon County School District in Yerington, Nevada, and demanded that they allow their client, Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley, to have equal participation rights in the school’s community flyer distribution plan. They brought up points on how the district allows all other sorts of community organizations to hand out fliers but not theirs cause it talks about their religion.
This isn’t the first time a school board has made anti-Christian laws, and Melville High School unlawfully banned After School Christian Clubs in 2014.
So here’s the back story: In 2014 this school did a similar law. They banned John’s, a student at Melville High club because of its religious nature. Attorneys with Liberty Institute, a law firm specializing in religious liberty cases, claimed they would sue.
After an investigation and angry emails from parents, Superintendent Cheryl Pedisich reversed the ban and apologized to John.
She told local television station WCBS the initial reason for rejection was “apparently inaccurately conveyed.”
And by “inaccurately conveyed” she means they got their hand caught in the religious liberty cookie jar.
Just nine months later and the school once again is telling the Christian kids they aren’t welcome to co-mingle.
So John picked up the phone and decided called Liberty Institute, a nationally known religious liberty law firm.
Sasser fired off a letter to the school district demanding the Christian students be allowed to form their club.
“This is not a complicated issue,” Sasser wrote. “Simply put, public schools cannot discriminate against religious clubs and must treat them equally, and provide them equal access to school facilities, as non-religious clubs.”
Attorney Sasser was then made a list of all the school’s clubs. The school had 33 in all. Some of the clubs included a fishing club and a ceramics club. They even have a Gay-Straight Alliance.
“They let all these other clubs meet with no problem whatsoever,” John told Fox. “But the second me and my friends mention faith or mention God, they get up in arms about it – like there’s something wrong with believing in these things.”
Johns mom called the school district to find out what was going on. Twice. I also sent an email. They got back to me late Monday afternoon. Superintendent Pedisich sent me a prepared statement denying their decision had anything to do with religion.
Here’s what she said when Johns mom called her “The religious club called Students United in Faith was denied because contractual guidelines regarding minimum participation (20 students) in student co-curricular programs was not met, nor did Ward Melville High School have the financial means to fund this program. The district does not have a practice of discrimination of any kind. We embrace our diverse school community and strive to maintain an environment that promotes tolerance, understanding, and respect for all.”
Sasser said the law is clear. It doesn’t matter if only two people wanted to join the Christian club – the school would have to accommodate them.
“If they allow the fishing club, they have to allow the Christian club, too,” he said. “They cannot exclude the Christian club.” Lawyers later said.
After what happened last year, I suspect the school knows that. It seems to me they’re just engaged in a bit of bullying and intimidation.
“It sends a chilling message to all faith groups – telling them the school views these clubs as not acceptable,” Sasser said.
John’s mom, Trudy Fischer, told me she’s proud that her son is sticking up for the club.
“I was really surprised in today’s age that children still have to stand up for their First Amendment rights,” she said. “Tolerance is really preached in their school. They talk about tolerance, but when it comes to this – there is no tolerance. They want to shut them up.” Johns mom told FOX.
That’s right, Trudy. They want your son to shut up. They want to marginalize these young Christian teenagers and make them think there’s something inappropriate, something sleazy about their religious beliefs. But what’s truly sleazy is government-employed bigots continuing to bully Christian teens trying to do good deeds.
While all this is going on, we have recently seen Pre Kers learn about what it means to be Transgender in public schools.