Liberty Counsel Sets Sights on Round Lake School District and Gets Satisfaction

I get emails from Liberty Counsel out of Orlando, Florida; Lynchburg, Virginia; and Washington, D.C.

To my surprise, one of today’s was about Round Lake, a northwestern Lake County school district.

Here’s the press release:

School District Ends Discrimination Against Christian Club To Avoid Legal Action

Round Lake, IL – After Liberty Counsel issued a demand letter and threatened legal action, the Round Lake School District gave Child Evangelism Fellowship of Northeast Illinois (CEF) permission to distribute flyers about its after-school Good New Clubs. Liberty Counsel represents CEF and its ministry coordinator, Gail Williams.

Last year a parent complained about a religious group using the school’s literature distribution channels.

As a result of the complaint, the school district issued a new policy this year, forcing religious organizations to leave flyers and other information in the office to be posted on an office bulletin board.

Secular organizations such as Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts were allowed to distribute their flyers through the teachers to the students and thus to the parents.

The policy was in direct violation of the United States Constitution, because it did not provide equal treatment for Christian viewpoints.

Attendance in after-school programs is low if parents do not receive notice of the opportunities.

Gail Williams met with school officials in an effort to resolve the discriminatory treatment imposed by the new policy.

When Ms. Williams was not able to resolve the discriminatory policy, she contacted Liberty Counsel, which then sent a demand letter to school officials.

The day after receiving the demand letter, the district agreed to allow CEF equal treatment under its materials distribution policy to conform to the First Amendment.

Good News Clubs are designed for elementary-age children and are held in public schools after school. Trained CEF leaders provide religious instruction and teach good citizenship and moral values to students from a biblical viewpoint.

Mathew D. Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented:

“The Supreme Court has made it abundantly clear that public schools may not discriminate against Good News Clubs and must provide equal treatment. Equal treatment is not a difficult concept.”

When I asked school board member Denny Driscoll for his take, he sent me this email:

“This whole thing was a tempest in a teapot. The district didn’t have a written procedure or policy on distributing flyers like this, so one of the staff said no to this group’s distribution. We had been trying to cut down on the amount of stuff that was being sent home with the kids.

“The policy now is that organizations can post notices on the student bulletin boards, and any interested students can pick up a flyer from the group in the office.”

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