A school district in California is coming under scrutiny for denying a request several times for a Christian school club to meet on their grounds as an after-school program. According to CBN News, the non-profit legal group Liberty Counsel has sent a letter to Hayward Unified School District (HUSD) on behalf of Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) for not allowing their Good News Club to meet at the elementary school while the school allows other clubs to meet there.
The Good News Club was permitted to meet at the school for several years until the COVID-19 pandemic forced all clubs to shut down in the spring of 2020. When all clubs were allowed to apply to be reinstated, the Good News Club did not get permission, nor did they even receive a reply to any correspondence from the school.
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said in a statement “According to the law, Good News Clubs must be given equal access as the non-religious groups on public school campuses. Equal access means equal treatment including the use of on-campus facilities, fee waivers, time of meetings, and announcements. Liberty Counsel will work to ensure this happens.”The school district was notified that it had by August 31, 2023 to respond in order to avoid legal action, but they have still not responded as of now. According to CBN News, there are currently 3,285 Good News Clubs in schools across America with 2,000 of them meeting during after school programs. The club is voluntary and provides “religious and other teaching and activities to encourage learning, spiritual growth, and service to others, as well as social, emotional, character, and leadership development, according to their attorneys.”