Tuesday, October 25, 2011

OK School Discriminates Against Christians: Lawsuit

A school superintendent in Oklahoma faces a lawsuit today for not only forbidding a community-led Christian club from placing fliers in the elementary school, but also for allegedly telling the Kids for Christ program not to advertise in the community either, lest it "stir up trouble."

-- From "Owasso district sued by before-school Bible club" by David Harper, Tulsa World Staff Writer 10/25/11

A federal lawsuit has been filed against Owasso Public Schools, alleging that the district is violating the constitutional rights of members of a before-school Bible club that meets at Northeast Elementary School.

The complaint claims the district has engaged in “censorship” by denying Owasso Kids for Christ the same opportunities to distribute information that groups such as the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have.

. . . the lawsuit claims “the overbreadth of the district’s policy and practice chills the speech of community groups who seek to engage in private religious expression” through the distribution of fliers, posting of signs, open house presentations and making of announcements.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Christian Club Sues School Over Media Restriction" by Todd Starnes, FoxNews.com 10/24/11

“This is a simple matter of a school district targeting a Christian organization,” said Matt Sharp, an attorney representing the “Kids for Christ,” a community-led Christian group suing the Owasso Public Schools.

Sharp, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, said the school district told the club it could no longer publicize its events – including discouraging organizers from spreading the word in the community and local media.

Sharp said the club meetings are held at the local elementary school before school and are open to students in kindergarten through the fifth grade. Other groups, including the Boy Scouts and YMCA, are allowed to promote activities at the school, but the Christian group is not.

“The superintendent said they were religious and couldn’t have the same access as other clubs,” he said.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Okla. Christian Group Sues School District for Censorship" by Jeff Schapiro, Christian Post Reporter 10/25/11

Owasso Kids for Christ is suing Owasso Public Schools for allegedly violating its First and Fourteenth Amendment rights by not allowing the club, which meets at Northeast Elementary School, to distribute any kind of literature or use other school communication methods to promote its faith-based events.

Sharp says the club began meeting in November 2010 and had no problems initially. It quickly swelled to over 100 students and the district seemed to take no issue with allowing them to distribute information, post fliers and make announcements via the PA system about events. The club is led by adult members of the community, and group events are held either before or after school, during non-instructional hours.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "School tells Bible club not to advertise ... anywhere" by Drew Zahn, World Net Daily 10/24/11

But in April, when the club requested permission to distribute a take-home flier for students and parents advertising a Christian martial arts event, the flier's phrase "Reaching the world for Christ!" caught the attention of District Superintendant Dr. Clark Ogilvie.

School officials cited a district policy manual governing outside adverstisments that states, "No literature will be distributed that contains primarily religious, objectionable, or political overtones."

According to court documents, Ogilvie further explained that such restrictions were necessary to keep "bad clubs" like the Ku Klux Klan out of the school.

. . . Ogilvie actively discouraged the group from publicizing its activities in the community – even through advertisements in local newspapers or signs posted on telephone poles – because he believed such publicity would "stir up trouble."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.