Thursday, January 11, 2007

Milwaukee Public Schools Remove Cap on Good News Clubs

In Milwaukee, the Hi-Mount Elementary School in the Milwaukee Public Schools District has removed its cap on the number of students who can attend the after-school Good News Club and has agreed to distribute permission slips in the same manner as other secular groups. Child Evangelism Fellowship, which sponsors the Good News Clubs, is represented by Liberty Counsel.
Jan Comaris received some resistance by officials in the Milwaukee Public Schools when she tried to start a Good News Club in an elementary school. The Hi-Mount Elementary School initially capped the number of school children who could attend the Good News Club at 25. Then the District refused to allow permission slips to be sent home to parents, informing them about the club and requesting permission for their children to attend. Numerous attempts by the Good News Club coordinators to resolve the matter were unsuccessful.
At the Congress Street School, the Good News Club was allowed to meet, but unlike the secular groups which met immediately after school, the Christian club was not permitted to meet until one hour after the end of the school day.
Liberty Counsel intervened and sent demand letters for each of these situations. Senior Litigation Counsel Mary McAlister also spoke with the District's attorney and threatened legal action. The District has now reversed its discriminatory practices and has granted equal access to the Good News Clubs. The cap on the Good News Clubs has been removed. The number of students attending the Hi-Mount club immediately grew from 25 to 54. The clubs can now meet immediately after school, and permission slips are now distributed in the same manner as afforded the secular clubs.
The lengths to which some school officials will go to discriminate against Christian clubs is astounding. The only rationale for such discrimination is unfounded ignorance of the law or animus to the Christian message. Either way, such discrimination is unconstitutional and can no longer be tolerated. Good News Clubs are good for kids.