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Case Page: CEF v. Harrisburg School District

by | Jul 16, 2012 | Case | 0 comments

The Harrisburg School District agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by Child Evangelism Fellowship of Dauphin County Inc. (CEF) at the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. CEF, which provides after-school “Good News Clubs”, filed the case after trying for months to work with the Harrisburg School District. This was not the first incident between the school district and CEF.

In 2010, the school district refused to permit CEF to use the school’s facilities because of CEF’s religious affiliation, a clear violation of the First Amendment. Harrisburg School District only abandoned its prohibition on religious groups and allowed CEF to use the facilities after attorney involvement in the spring of 2011. The District then changed its policy. According to the new policy, “non-profit community service groups” like the Boys and Girls Club of Harrisburg are allowed to use the facilities free of charge. The District, however, refused to treat CEF like other non-profit groups that serve the children of the community. Instead, CEF faced thousands of dollars in fees, forcing CEF out of the District for much of the school year.

After filing suit on the new policy, the school district finally agreed to treat CEF like other community service groups. It has now agreed to a full settlement of the case, including a change in policy that clarifies that groups like CEF are not to be treated differently than other groups.