School makes tremendous reversal on prayer club

 May 12, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

A school district that just weeks ago had refused students permission to begin an interfaith prayer club – even though a wide range of other special interest organizations like a Pride club and a Green club were approved – abruptly has reversed itself.

"We are very pleased that the Issaquah School District is allowing our clients to start a prayer club at their school this spring," explained Kayla Toney, associate counsel at First Liberty Institute, in a prepared statement.

"Schools should always respect the religious beliefs of their students. This is a victory for students of all faiths and a reminder that people of faith have a constitutional right to express their religious beliefs and pray, even in a public school setting."

The fight erupted when two elementary school students proposed an interfaith prayer club at Creekside Elementary in the district in Washington state.

They were denied, even though the district "actively promoted more than a dozen non-religious clubs, including a Pride Club and the Green Team."

When First Liberty and its lawyers intervened, the school reversed its direction.

First Liberty explained, "Creekside Elementary School is in Sammamish, WA, just a short distance from Bremerton High School, where Coach Joe Kennedy was fired for praying on the football field after each game. Coach Kennedy won his right to pray on the field in a 6-3 Supreme Court decision. The Court’s holding in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District made clear that the First Amendment protects the right of students and employees to express their faith in public schools."

When the dispute developed, WND reported that it was 11-year-old Laura of Creekside who was on Fox News to talk about her efforts – and the school's blockade.

At the time, she explained, "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."

First Liberty pointed out that the district's actions looked like "religious discrimination."

The Fox report said Laura and her mother allegedly met with the Creekside principal in February, and "The principal claimed that all funding for school clubs had already been allocated back in October. However, a Pride club had allegedly launched just a week before the meetings."

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