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School Denies 5th Grader’s Request to Start Prayer Club, Approves Pride Club Instead

An Unconstitutional Refusal

First Liberty Institute, a nonprofit Christian legal organization representing Laura, another unidentified student and their parents, sent a letter to Issaquah School District officials about the incident.

“Denying the formation of a religious student club while allowing other clubs violates the Constitution,” said Kayla Toney, associate counsel at First Liberty Institute. “School officials at Creekside Elementary are engaged in religious discrimination against an eleven-year-old girl who simply wants to pray, feel support from other religious friends, and do community service.”

Just an hour away from Creekside elementary is Bremerton High School, which made headlines back in 2015 after firing assistant football coach, Joe Kennedy, for praying on the field after games. 

The district had said it was trying to avoid the appearance that it was endorsing a religious point of view. They also expressed concern that players may have felt they had to participate or risk feeling separated from the team.

In a yearslong battle to fight for religious freedom, the Supreme Court voted in 2022 that Kennedy was protected by his first amendment right to free speech, and did indeed have the right to pray on the field. He was given his job back. 

The case set precedence for First Liberty to fight Laura’s case with the Issaquah School District. 

“The Court in Kennedy explained that… the First Amendment ‘doubly protects religious speech.’ These First Amendment protections extend to elementary school students expressing their sincere religious beliefs through voluntary club. Yet the school district flouted its First Amendment obligations when they refused to allow a student-led interfaith prayer club. Its unlawful action violates both the Free Exercise Clause and the Free Speech Clause,” the letter from First Liberty states.

Bri Lamm
Bri Lamm
Bri is an outgoing introvert with a heart that beats for adventure. She lives to serve the Lord, experience the world, and eat macaroni and cheese in between capturing life’s greatest moments on one of her favorite cameras.

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