IFAS | Freedom Writer | January/February 1989 | access.html

Equal Access rapped

A public high school cannot permit student religious groups to meet because it "would impermissibly advance, rather than neutrally accommodate religion." This is how Judge Jerome Farris summed up the 3-0 decision by the U. S. District Court of Appeals (9th Circuit) in San Francisco. The case was brought before the court by a Christian student group at Lindberg High School in Renton, WA. The students' request for a before-school Bible study and prayer meeting had been denied by school officials.

The January 17th decision is seen as a blow to the Equal Access Act of 1984, which permits religious groups to meet on the same basis as other extracurricular groups. Although the Renton school system disallowed all non-curricula clubs from meeting, the court indicated that any on-campus religious meetings would probably violate the constitutional requirement for the separation of church and state.

The Christian group plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.