Friday, November 10, 2006

'Good News' Clubs Gain Equal Access

Orlando, FL - Liberty Counsel is working with Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) to clear the way for CEF's Good News Clubs to use public school facilities after school. The Clubs are designed to teach character development to children ages 5-12. Liberty Counsel's efforts on behalf of CEF are meeting with great success all across America.Orange County, North CarolinaAfter written demand by Liberty Counsel to reverse a decision forbidding public school teachers from leading Good News Clubs, the Orange County school district agreed on Thursday to no longer restrict any employee's private speech rights and to allow teachers to lead Good News Clubs on their own time, including after school. In 2004 Liberty Counsel won a case in North Dakota against a school district that prohibited a teacher from teaching students after school in a Good News Club.Naytahwaush, MinnesotaOn Monday, the Naytahwaush Community Charter School approved CEF's request for a Good News Club at the school. The school is located on an Indian reservation. CEF has tried to start Clubs at several schools but was met with resistance from the Reservation until Liberty Counsel intervened. Local CEF leaders are excited about the new Club, and the growth of the local chapter.Lone Peak and Forbes, UtahAfter being stonewalled and rejected, two school districts have agreed recently to allow the Good News Clubs to use their facilities. On Wednesday of this week, a club started at a school in Forbes. A Good News Club will start in Lone Peak on next Thursday. Currently, there are 16 after-school Good News Clubs meeting in seven different school districts in Utah. Every school CEF contacted for a Good News Club has now allowed equal access.Liberty Counsel published educational materials focusing on the rights of students and teachers in public schools, and also provides legal assistance to school officials in drafting policies respecting the free speech rights of students, staff, parents and groups using school facilities.We are excited that more and more school districts are getting the message - equal access means equal treatment. Good News Clubs are great for kids and schools. The clubs teach respect, morality and character development. Instead of restricting Good News Clubs, public schools ought to embrace them.