Ocala, FL – Today, Liberty Counsel filed a suit defending the constitutional rights of students who are members of Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Lake County, Florida. Officials of Mount Dora High School have repeatedly discriminated against the Christian, student-led club, not granting it equal access to school facilities given to other student clubs, including the following:
- Announcements in the hallways and on the school’s marquee,
- Flyers in and outside of classrooms where clubs meet,
- Club announcements over the school’s public address system,
- Club webpage on the District’s website,
- Members to wear a colored cord at graduation to signify club membership,
- Club section in the school yearbook, and
- Stipend for the club’s faculty advisor.
The federal Equal Access Act and the First Amendment prohibit discrimination against public school clubs. “Equal Access means exactly what it says – equal access to every school facility used by other clubs,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “This includes the use of classroom facilities, intercom systems, bulletin boards, yearbook, financial sponsorship, and any other benefit afforded to secular clubs.”
Since 1954, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has inspired young people towards integrity, service, teamwork, and excellence. Club or “Huddle” events include Bible studies and school and community programs, such as food drives and One Way 2 Play. OW2P is a program confronting the problem of student drug use by instilling values, encouraging goal-setting, and establishing accountability through positive peer pressure.
“FCA is instilling community responsibility, leadership, morality, and character development in the hearts of young people. Why Mount Dora High School refuses to support this kind of club is beyond absurd,” said Staver.
Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono legal assistance and representation on these and related topics.
Source: Liberty Counsel
Contact: PUBLIC RELATIONS DEPARTMENT – 800-671-1776 or Media@LC.org