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Washington school violates 11-year-old’s religious freedom

Creekside Elementary in Sammamish, Washington is in hot water after approving the creation of a LGBT club promoted by teachers, and then denying a request made just one week later by an 11-year-old girl to create an interfaith prayer club because she felt alone at the school. The goal of the club was to “bring students together to serve their community.”

Laura, the 5th grader behind the prayer club, and her mother met with Creekside Principal Amy Allison to learn more about why the request for the club was denied. They were told that funding for clubs had been allocated in October 2023, and they missed the deadline, thus the club could not be created during the current school year. That would have been a reasonable explanation, except for the fact that  Laura and her mother learned that the LGBT club’s application was submitted just one week earlier and gained swift approval, setting a clear double standard. 

Laura’s family quickly obtained legal counsel from the First Liberty Institute (FLI), the same organization that represented Washington high school football coach Joe Kennedy, who was fired for praying on the field and ultimately won his Supreme Court battle in 2022.

“Principal Allison’s suggestion that L.A.W. [Laura] could apply and pay to use the school’s facilities as if she were an outside organization is an unlawful sidestep of the law’s requirements,” FLI stated in a letter to the school. “As the Supreme Court has repeatedly held, religious clubs must be afforded the same recognition, access, and rights as other non-curricular clubs.”  

Clearly, denying Laura’s request for an interfaith prayer group while approving an LGBT club in the same breath is a violation of religious freedom and Laura’s First Amendment rights. Creekside Elementary will be held accountable for blatant religious discrimination against an 11-year-old girl. We fully believe we will see the same victory witnessed in Joe Kennedy’s case just two years ago.

“Sadly, the promotion of LGBT identities is held sacred while religion is sidelined and marginalized,” said Arielle Del Turco, Family Research Council’s director of the Center for Religious Liberty. “Any school that allows other clubs while specifically denying religious clubs is acting in a discriminatory manner and violating the First Amendment, which protects freedom of expression and the free exercise of religion. Christian fifth graders shouldn’t face viewpoint discrimination from their school leadership. It shouldn’t have had to come to this, but I fully expect this injustice to be rectified in the courts.”

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