SOLANA BEACH–The San Dieguito Union High School District (SDUHS) has established a new policy after attorneys of the Western Center for Law & Policy submitted a legal opinion memorandum demanding that Principal Anna Pedroza stop her discriminatory treatment of students attending The Pulse, a Christian club at Earl Warren Middle School in Solana Beach.
The school’s administration had forbidden the Christian club from advertising their meetings with flyers on campus or announcing the club over the school’s public address system. Pedroza had also ordered the club to suspend Bible reading on campus and had indicated that she was considering whether it was legal to have invited speakers “pray” at club meetings. Pedroza further mandated that “sports figures” but not “youth pastors” could appear as featured speakers at the Club.
After reviewing the Western Center for Law & Policy’s legal memorandum and meeting with their own attorneys, the District established a new policy which protects the freedom of speech and religious free exercise rights of Christian students at all SDUHS middle school and high school campuses. The new policy declares that “All non-curriculum student clubs will be treated the same and required to follow the same rules.” The District further agreed that “Students will be permitted to select guest speakers to invite to attend meetings . . .” In addition, the policy states that “The school will not engage in viewpoint discrimination, will not influence the content of the meeting . . .”
“Christian students must not be treated like second class citizens in our public schools,” stated WCLP President and Chief Counsel Dean Broyles. “The burdensome restrictions the administration placed on the club’s students were particularly egregious and demonstrated a rather profound ignorance of well established constitutional rights.
However, I am very pleased the District quickly did the right thing after the matter was brought to its attention and decided to adopt a policy which protects the constitutional rights of students to assemble and express their faith on campus free from undue government coercion or censorship. This is a great victory for religious freedom”