Reversed! Superintendent Allows Christian Club After PJI Steps In
Cupertino, CA–Students at Homestead High School stood up for their rights to have their Christian athletes club on campus, and the school district agreed. Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) advocated for their Christian club to be recognized among the many other student clubs permitted to meet on school property.
Jocelyn, a sophomore with a heart to express her faith and positively impact her school, attended a Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) leadership conference last summer and felt compelled to start an FCA club with her classmates. She and four fellow students submitted a video to the Associated Student Body (ASB), introducing their club and why they should be accepted as an official club. Their club’s purpose is to mirror their passion for sports with a passion for Christ. ASB organizes a variety of clubs that cover topics from science to chess, as well as the Muslim Student Association and the Gender-Sexuality Alliance.
However, the ASB denied the FCA’s application, providing four reasons: (1) the group overlaps with another Christian club; (2) the video presentation seemingly indicates it is “not open to anyone”; (3) it is “hard to lose the Christian focus”; and (4) the club’s officers do not show any qualifications. In February 2019, PJI’s San Jose attorney, Dennis Faigal, represented the student’s FCA club in his letter to the superintendent of the Fremont Union High School District. Faigal explained that the denial of the club violates federal law and that the ASB’s reasons for denial of the FCA application are invalid.
The superintendent responded cooperatively to Faigal’s request for provision of equal access to the FCA. The superintendent apologized that the FCA had endured the disappointment of rejection and ensured that Homestead High School would now accept FCA as an official club.
“This case sparked a desire to implement district-wide training to schools on these legal issues,” Faigal commented. “Students and teachers will receive a clearer understanding of what decisions they should make to avoid future problems like this.”
Brad Dacus, president of PJI, stated, “We applaud the school district and the high school for their steps to correct the ASB’s denial of this Christian club. And we commend Jocelyn for her courage to stand for her faith and for her conviction to spread the Gospel.”