FLORENCE, Ky., Feb. 19, 2018 /Christian Newswire
/ -- Liberty Counsel sent a demand
letter on Friday, February 8, to the Boone County School District to provide equal access for use of school facilities, consistent with the district facilities use policy, for the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) after-school Good News Clubs for children K-5.
The district has altered evidence proving it was illegally discriminating against the Good News Club while allowing other non-profit organizations like Girls on the Run of Cincinnati (GOTR) to use facilities space. Now, administrators appear poised to cancel all 2018 Boone County Schools GOTR clubs, a local non-profit teaching character to girls through its running program, rather than simply extend equal treatment to the Good News Club.
On January 18, 2018, Liberty Counsel requested
that the district respond to repeated inquiries from CEF seeking use of a room for Good News Club meetings after school, at Stephens Elementary and at Goodridge Elementary. Administrators at both schools first rejected, then ignored, the requests dating back to 2015. Discrimination against CEF continued in 2016 and 2017, while the district permitted GOTR to meet. Liberty Counsel provided hyperlinks to websites at both schools and additional evidence showing that GOTR is legally no different than the Good News Club.
In response, school administrators deleted an entire webpage description of GOTR at Stephens, and changed the name of "Girls on the Run" to "Running Club" at Goodridge, after which the district's attorneys responded to Liberty Counsel, claiming that "neither running club at Stephens or Goodridge Elementary has any affiliation with the non-profit organization, Girls on the Run."
"CEF and its sponsored Good News Clubs are entitled to equal treatment by Boone County Schools," said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. "It is amazing that schools would destroy evidence and consider canceling Girls on the Run rather than comply with the First Amendment principle of equal treatment for the Good News Clubs. We will hold Boone County School District accountable for overt viewpoint discrimination if equal treatment is not provided," said Staver.
Child Evangelism Fellowship is an international, nonprofit, Christian ministry that has been teaching the Bible to children since 1937. CEF has 400 offices in the USA and is organized in most nations of the world, with over 3,200 paid staff and hundreds of thousands of volunteers. In its last ministry year, CEF ministered to nearly 20 million children in its face-to-face teaching ministries.