OWASSO, Okla. A student-led Christian club has filed suit against an Oklahoma school district after it revoked the club's ability to promote its events on campus.
The Owasso Public School district rescinded the "Kids for Christ" club's promotion of its activities. Other clubs at the Northeast Elementary School, however, are allowed to distribute flyers, make announcements, post signs and have "open houses" on the school grounds.
"A Christian organization should not be targeted for discrimination when it is simply seeking to publicize its voluntary meetings just like other community groups do," said Matt Sharp, an Alliance Defense Fund attorney representing the "Kids for Christ."
The federal lawsuit filed by ADF challenges the district policy and calls it unconstitutional. Owasso Public Schools' policy states, "No literature will be distributed that contains primarily religious, objectionable, or political overtones which may be beneficial to any particular group or business at the expense of others."
"The district would have people believe that the Constitution requires a religious organization to be singled out in this manner when, in reality, the Constitution strictly prohibits this type of discrimination. The courts have repeatedly upheld this," said Sharp.
The school district went a step farther according to Sharp. The District Superintendent Clark Ogilvie discouraged the more-than-100-member club from publicizing its activities in the local community because they would "stir up trouble."
"Just as it rightly allowed the YMCA's flier, the district must allow the 'Kids for Christ' club's fliers and other activity announcements," Sharp explained. "The district is very clearly wrong in its view of the First Amendment."
The "Kids for Christ" club holds voluntary Bible studies before school and sponsors games, dances, and other social events for students and their parents.