Local School Denies Student Creationism Club

Local School Denies Student Creationism Club June 1, 2015

I find this really odd. Hudsonville Public Schools, just outside Grand Rapids, a very heavily Christian conservative community, is apparently refusing to recognize a student Creation Club group. If they don’t recognize it, that’s a clear violation of federal law.

Hudsonville Public Schools refusal to recognize the formation of a religious-based student club is being called discriminatory and in violation of the students’ First Amendment rights.

The Center for Religious Expression, a non-profit public interest law firm based in Memphis, Tenn., sent a letter to Superintendent Nick Ceglarek and high school Principal Dave Feenstra demanding that an extracurricular club, called Creation Club, be formally recognized by school officials.

The group discusses and critically analyzes evolutionary theory and other theories about Earth’s origin from religious perspectives, according to the May 28 letter from the religious advocates. The letter states that Hudsonville High School has “so far” refused to recognize the Creation Club due to “unfounded fears about instruction in creationism.”

“The situation is troubling,” the firm’s chief counsel Nate Kellum wrote in the three-page letter. “Your high school officially recognizes a multitude of extracurricular clubs. The refusal to recognize the Creation Club due to potential objections to the views of the club violates the both the Equal Access Act and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

Kellum is right. The Equal Access Act forbids secondary schools from refusing to recognize a student group on the basis of viewpoint. This is the same law that requires schools to treat SSA groups or Gay-Straight Alliance clubs the same way they treat other groups.

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