Religion in Society

NY School District Won't Recognize Bible Club

| by ADF

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed a lawsuit in federal court Thursday after Lindenhurst Union Free School District officials repeatedly refused to grant official recognition to a student-run Bible club.

"Christian student groups shouldn't be discriminated against for their beliefs," said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman. "The First Amendment and federal law both prohibit such actions on the basis of religion, and this has been established by years of court precedent."

For more than four months, Lindenhurst High School officials have repeatedly refused to grant official recognition to the club because of its religious nature. A number of other non-curriculum-related, student-led clubs--including the Gay-Straight Alliance, Key Club, and Chess Club--have received official recognition and are entitled to certain benefits and privileges.

The school district is not permitting members of the Bible club to use classrooms to meet on the same basis as other clubs. Instead, they were forced to apply for facility access as a local community organization. As a result, the Bible Club has yet to hold its first meeting while other clubs are freely meeting on campus.

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"The Bible club is entitled to the same recognition and benefits as other student-led clubs on campus," said ADF Litigation Counsel Joshua Bolinger. "It is unconstitutional for school officials to deny students their First Amendment rights simply because they are religious."

Attorney Charles E. Holster III of Mineola is serving as local counsel in the case.

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A copy of the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in A.Q. v. Board of Education of Lindenhurst Union Free School District is available at www.telladf.org/UserDocs/AQComplaint.pdf.