Judge Rules O.C. High School Can't Ban Bible Club
Sep 4, 2008 3:48 pm US/Pacific
ANAHEIM A north Orange County high school has been told it can no longer ban a Bible club from meeting on campus and must offer them listings in the school's yearbook and Web site, it was reported Thursday.
Until the federal court ruling, students had been prevented from starting a Bible club at Esperanza High School in Anaheim. Placentia-Yorba Linda School District officials argued that only curriculum-related groups are allowed on campus, the Los Angeles Times reported.
But in issuing a preliminary injunction last Thursday, U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney said that Esperanza does allow other groups -- such as a Red Cross club -- to meet on campus, even though he said they are not directly related to academics, according to the newspaper.
That means the district must follow the federal Equal Access Act and 1st Amendment and allow the Bible club to form, Carney said, according to The Times.
The club will now be able to meet on campus, have access to an advisor and school supplies, and be listed in the yearbook, complete with a photo.
"Schools must provide a microcosm of society, along with the freedom for students to be exposed to diverse and challenging views and choose between them," Carney wrote, according to The Times.
"The district's objections seem to be based, at least partially, on a paternalistic desire to control the views and outlets available to students during the day."
The preliminary injunction stands until the case goes to trial, but district officials say they will now review the school's club policies and decide whether to fight the suit.
If a school allows ANY non-curriculum club, then it must allow ALL non-curriculum clubs, including Bible Clubs.