December 13, 2012
Today, in response to a letter from Center for Religious Expression, Principal Donna Valentine of Stamford High School agreed to let The Revolution Club, a Christian student club, have the same access and amenities as other student clubs at the school. Previously, the principal denied the club official recognition, fearing the students would promote Christian views and pray on campus. But the school changed course after being reminded of the constitutional rights of the students involved.
Stamford High School allows a large number of student clubs to meet at the school during non-instructional times, representing a wide variety of interests and ideologies, including the Animal Rights Club, Build On (global issues), Cam Club (entertainment arts), Fashion Club, Food For Thought Club (hunger awareness), H.U.G.S. (Help Unite Gays & Straights), and Poetry Slam. Yet, The Revolution Club was isolated for discrimination.
“Public schools cannot single out religious speech for discriminatory treatment,” said CRE Chief Counsel Nate Kellum. “We are pleased that the school came to its constitutional senses. This is to the credit of these courageous students who were unwilling to have their Christian views marginalized.”
Kellum emphasized the constitutional rights of the students. “Students don’t check their constitutional rights at the school house gate; they take those rights with them.”
Kellum also addressed the prayer issue. “That aspect of the decision was particularly egregious. Students retain the fundamental freedom to pray during their free time.”
Kellum added that CRE would continue to monitor the situation and make sure the school system upheld its end of the bargain.