Girl Denied Interfaith Club After LGBT Pride Approval Ignites Debate on School’s Religious Freedom

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In a contentious decision, an eleven-year-old girl in Washington state claims she was denied permission to start an interfaith prayer group at her elementary school just one week after an LGBT Pride club was allowed to be formed. Laura, a student at Creekside Elementary School, wanted to create a space where like-minded peers could join together, pray, and contribute to the community. However, her efforts have been met with resistance, raising questions about religious freedom and discrimination within the educational system.

Laura’s journey began in February when she and her mother approached the school’s principal, Amy Allison, with the idea for the interfaith club. They were informed that they had missed the funding deadline for school clubs, despite the Pride Club being established the week before. First Liberty Institute, the organization representing Laura, reports that the school hosts several other clubs, including the Green Team and the Toastmasters Club.

In a follow-up meeting, Principal Allison suggested that Laura could apply to use the school after hours for a fee. Confused by this suggestion, as other student clubs were not required to pay, Laura was met with the response, “I am sorry, [L.], I just can’t tell you what you want to hear,” and “we can’t allow it.”

Kayla Toney, associate counsel at First Liberty Institute, argues that denying the formation of a religious club, while permitting other clubs, goes against the U.S. Constitution. She states that the First Amendment’s free speech and free exercise clauses both protect Laura’s right to gather with other religious students, pray, and speak about her faith.

“The law is clear: if the school allows at least one non-curricular club, no matter what the club is about, it has to allow a religious club. It’s actually viewpoint discrimination to deny a religious club just because it’s religious,” Toney explains. She further contends that school officials at Creekside Elementary are engaged in religious discrimination, obstructing the desires of an eleven-year-old girl to find support and engage in community service.

Despite the ongoing challenges, Laura remains steadfast in her pursuit, stating, “I think that this is something that I am very passionate about. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want to make this happen if I didn’t think that it would be a great opportunity for everyone.” As the story gains attention, it raises critical questions about the liberties afforded to students in expressing their religious beliefs and the potential double standards that exist in school club funding and approval. Ultimately, the outcome of this situation may become a critical turning point in the fight for equal rights and religious freedom in schools across the nation.

Next News Network Team

Next News Network Team

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