Elementary Schools

Enabling Religious Student Groups To Meet In Public Elementary Schools

Community groups, like Child Evangelism Fellowship and other religious groups, have a free speech right to conduct after-school programs for elementary-aged students on the same basis as other community groups, like Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, are allowed to meet. The Center has represented community groups in many precedent-setting cases in the elementary school context.

Culbertson v. Oakridge School District: The Center secured equal access to elementary schools in Oakridge, Oregon, for Child Evangelism Fellowship Good News Clubs. The clubs meet after school with elementary-aged children who have parental permission to attend. The children hear Bible stories, sing songs, play games, and learn that God loves them.

Citation: Culbertson v. Oakridge School District, 258 F.3d 1060 (9th Cir. 2001)

Good News Club v. Milford Central School: The Supreme Court ruled that a Good News Club must be allowed to meet after school with elementary students. The Center filed an amicus brief in support of the students.

Citation: Good News Club v. Milford Central School, 533 U.S. 98 (2001).

Christian Evangelism Fellowship of Montgomery County v. Montgomery County Public Schools II: A public school district adopted a new policy and continued to refuse to distribute fliers to parents about a religious after-school program that taught children about God, even though fliers for nonreligious community groups frequently were sent home to parents. The Center sued on behalf of Child Evangelism Fellowship and won a ruling in the Fourth Circuit that the new policy violated the Free Speech Clause.

Citation: Child Evangelism Fellowship of Maryland v. Montgomery County Public Schools, 457 F.3d 376 (4th Cir. 2006).

Child Evangelism Fellowship of New Jersey v. Stafford Township School District: A public school district refused to distribute fliers to parents about a religious after-school program that taught children about God, even though fliers for nonreligious community groups frequently were sent home to parents. The Center sued on behalf of the Child Evangelism Fellowship chapter and won.

Citation: Child Evangelism Fellowship of New Jersey v. Stafford Township School District, 386 F.3d 514 (3d Cir. 2004), aff’g, 233 F. Supp.2d 647 (D.N.J. 2002).

Christian Evangelism Fellowship of Montgomery County v. Montgomery County Public Schools I: A public school district refused to distribute fliers to parents about a religious after-school program that taught children about God, even though fliers for nonreligious community groups frequently were sent home to parents. The Center sued on behalf of Child Evangelism Fellowship chapter and won a ruling that distribution of religious community groups’ fliers would not violate the Establishment Clause.

Citation: Child Evangelism Fellowship of Maryland v. Montgomery County Public Schools, 373 F.3d 589 (4th Cir. 2004).

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