After standoff, NC high school approves secular club

Religion News ServiceFebruary 19, 2014 

Freshman Kalei Wilson will establish a chapter of Secular Student Alliance at Pisgah High School in Canton, N.C.

PHOTO COURTESY OF CASH ATHEOS

A North Carolina high school will allow the formation of a club for nonreligious students after a four-month standoff.

The Secular Student Alliance, a national organization for nonreligious college and high school students, announced earlier this week, that lawyers for Pisgah High School in Canton, N.C., have said the school will permit freshman Kalei Wilson to establish a chapter of the group.

“We are thrilled to see this victory for Kalei and all of the students at Pisgah High School!” said August E. Brunsman IV, executive director of the alliance. “We fight everyday to ensure students’ rights aren’t infringed upon, and are pleased with this response from Haywood County Schools.”

Wilson, 15, and her older brother, Ben, 17, asked school administrators for permission to start a club for nonreligious students in October. According to a letter of complaint sent to the school by the Freedom from Religion Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union, the students were repeatedly stalled and rebuffed.

Pisgah High School has several Christian-oriented extracurricular clubs and denying its nonreligious students made the school noncompliant with federal law requiring equal access.

Reached at school by text message, Kalei Wilson said she is excited to found the club and knows of about a dozen students who say they would like to join.

“To me it means change and improvement in the school,” she said. “I hope to teach them more about equality and the separation between church and state.”

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