Remember the Antelope Valley Union High School District in California, which refused to include two FFRF scholarships on a list of scholarships available to students? Well they caved pretty fast once a lawsuit was filed and have now agreed to a settlement.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has prevailed in a court battle over a California school district’s censorship.
In a legal settlement signed by U.S. District Judge Manuel Real, the Antelope Valley Union High School District consented to distribute scholarship opportunities offered by FFRF and Antelope Valley Freethinkers. It also agreed to reimburse $10,000 in attorneys’ fees.
The district had claimed announcements for essay contests on nonreligious themes would upset parents and even rejected offers to modify the wording. Yet the district listed last year scholarships offered by religious organizations.
FFRF is satisfied that the Antelope Valley Union High School District will not engage in invidious viewpoint discrimination in the future or censor scholarship programs catering to nonreligious students.
“We’re sorry it took a lawsuit to get the school district to agree to equal treatment of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and Antelope Valley Freethinkers,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “But we were confident we would prevail. It’s also heartening to get a victorious settlement so quickly.”
That’s about what I figured would happen. The school had absolutely no legal leg to stand on in court and their attorneys undoubtedly told them that it would save them a lot of money to just agree to include the scholarships from now on and pay $10,000 rather than losing in court and paying 10 or 20 times that much later.