First Liberty leaps into action for FCA club in KY

Monday, November 12, 2018
Bob Kellogg, Billy Davis (

gavel with Bible 2A public school district in Kentucky that singled out a Christian student group has reportedly backed down after legal pushback.

Attorneys for First Liberty Institute contacted Hardin County School District after it refused to allow Fellowship of Christian Athletes to meet during school hours, when other student clubs are allowed to meet.

That demand letter, which can be read here, accuses the school district of discriminating against FCA students at North Hardin High and it also asks the school district to adopt a policy that guarantees the "religious liberty rights" of students, teachers, and staff.  

First Liberty learned school officials had caved to demands from American Atheists, which sent a demand letter in September to school districts in Hardin, Jefferson, and Fayette counties, local newspaper The News-Enterprise reported.

First Liberty says Hardin instructed faculty and staff to refrain from any expressions of faith in the classroom; avoid posting religious views on social media; and avoid participation in student-led religious activities, among others demands. 

The newspaper story described those requirements as "reminders" from Hardin County public schools but the story credits American Atheists for that "reminder," which First Liberty insists is a misguided legal demand over the Establishment Clause. 

First Liberty attorney Keisha Russell tells OneNewsNow the same letter stated religious groups are not permitted to meet at the same time secular clubs meet, and the school also caved to that claim.

"Because FCA is a religious organization, they could not meet during the school day even though they had a club set-aside time where all the other clubs and organizations were meeting," she explains. "And although FCA was allowed to meet before school and after school, they were excluded from meeting during that club time."

The school district's response to American Atheists stirred dissent from a city councilman, Bill Bennett, who threatened to vote against any help for the school district after is rolled over for the atheist group. 

"This is a misguided interpretation of the First Amendment, and I will not give aid to any government or school entity that subverts the Constitution," Bennett told the newspaper.

A high school teacher quoted by the newspaper also complained about the requirements, especially banning public school employees from expressing their faith on social media.

Bennett first commented about the school district's anti-religious guidelines in a Facebook post, which prompted a response from a woman whose husband is Kentucky's state director of American Atheists.  

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