Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Good News Clubs Win Preliminary Injunction

In Child Evangelism Fellowship of Indiana, Inc. v. Indiana Metropolitan School District of  Pike Township, (SD IN, Aug. 1, 2017), an Indiana federal district court granted a preliminary injunction to Child Evangelism Fellowship preventing the school district from charging CEF a fee for using school facilities for the Good New Club meetings until the district develops an acceptable policy as to which groups must pay for use of school facilities.  The school district currently has a policy allowing some groups, such as the Boy Scouts, to "partner" with the schools and use facilities free of charge, while others, like CEF, are charged a fee.  The court held that the school district could charge fees to some groups and not others if the groups were classified in a viewpoint-neutral way.  Here however, "the District has given itself unbridled discretion to determine which outside groups pay fees to use its facilities and, indeed, which outside groups are permitted to use its facilities at all...." The court held:
This type of unbridled discretion and vague, unwritten “partner” policy violates the First Amendment.
Liberty Counsel issued a press release announcing the decision.