A conservative law firm is accusing a Kentucky school district of trying to erase evidence that it unlawfully discriminated against an evangelical student group.
The Liberty Counsel sent Boone County Schools a letter of complaint last month regarding two elementary schools' refusal too allow the Good News Club to meet at their facilities.
In their January letter, LC cited the group Girls on the Run (GOTR) as an example of a non-school organization that is allowed to meet after classes on school property.
In a follow-up sent last Friday, LC protested what it believed was an effort by school officials to delete references to GOTR on their websites.
"The attempt by Stephens Elementary and Goodridge Elementary administrators to cover their tracks by simply deleting or changing references to 'Girls on the Run' at these two hyperlinks is unavailing, and frankly, laughable," noted the February letter.
"Please see attached screenshots of the websites before your clients deleted or changed them, and after they deleted or changed them."
The images LC provided showed screenshots of the school websites before and after certain changes were made, including one that changed the name of "Girls on the Run" to "Running Club."
LC went on to reemphasize their argument from the earlier letter that "GOTR is similarly situated to the Good News Club."
"Child Evangelism Fellowship of Kentucky and its sponsored Good News Clubs are entitled to equal treatment by the District, and by its elementary schools. I am renewing the demand that the District approve both Good News Club facilities use requests," continued Liberty Counsel.
Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, said in a statement released Monday that he was amazed at the apparent effort to delete online evidence that GOTR was treated differently than Good news Club.
"It is amazing that schools would destroy evidence and consider canceling Girls on the Run rather than comply with the First Amendment principle of equal treatment for the Good News Clubs," Staver said.
"We will hold Boone County School District accountable for overt viewpoint discrimination if equal treatment is not provided."
In 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Good News Club et al v. Milford Central School that Good News Club has the right to hold meetings after school hours.
"We conclude that Milford's restriction violates the Club's free speech rights and that no Establishment Clause concern justifies that violation," the Supreme Court concluded.
"When Milford denied the Good News Club access to the school's limited public forum on the ground that the club was religious in nature, it discriminated against the club because of its religious viewpoint in violation of the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment."