Plano School District Votes to Settle Christian Club’s Discrimination Suit

Another Victory for Jesus!!

(AgapePress) – As part of an effort to settle a discrimination lawsuit, a Dallas-area public school district has decided to stop discriminating against a student-led Christian club. The district’s move comes after the student group filed suit, asking a federal judge to tell school officials to stop discriminating against the Christian students’ religious club.
Earlier this year, a group of students at a middle school in the Plano Independent School District (PISD) asked administrators for permission to form a Christian club. The club, named SWAT or Students Witnessing Absolute Truth, was approved.
Eventually, however, school officials told the students their group could not receive official recognition or a staff sponsor because it is a religious club. Liberty Legal Institute, a Dallas-area based religious freedom defense group, filed suit on behalf of the members of SWAT after a description of their club was briefly removed from a listing of non-curricular clubs on the PISD website.
Seventh-grader Michael Shell, the Christian club’s founder, says he and his fellow members only want to be treated fairly. If he and the other Christian students on campus simply let school officials “throw us around,” he observes, “then they would get the idea that Christians are weak and they can’t do anything, and [that] this Jesus guy they talk about isn’t really important to them.”
Liberty Legal Institute attorney Hiram Sasser says the school has harmed the club by not allowing it to have a faculty or staff sponsor. Denial of adult sponsorship meant the student group could not have a bank account — a fact that created problems for the Christian club, particularly during its fundraising efforts.
“Here’s some kids that are engaged in a fundraiser now, trying to raise money for multiple sclerosis, to help battle that disease,” Sasser posits. “While all the other clubs get to have a school bank account, these kids just have to kind of run around with the money in their pocket in order to give it to the multiple sclerosis folks.”
The types of institutional impediments PISD officials were throwing in front of this Bible club were “just absolutely ludicrous,” the Liberty Legal attorney contends. And this kind of discrimination is not new to this district, Sasser notes, as the Plano school system has been sued in the past for refusing students permission to hand out religious-themed candy canes during the Christmas season.
PISD School Board trustees voted last Monday to respond to SWAT’s lawsuit by voting to offer the Christian group the same privileges extended to other student clubs as part of a formal settlement proposal, which offer also includes an award of $100 in damages to the Bible study group and its founder. The district would also agree to pay legal costs in the case but would admit no wrongdoing.

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