Court Bars Rental Fees for Afterschool Religion Club

By Mark Walsh — August 11, 2008 1 min read

A federal judge has issued an injunction barring a Virginia school district from imposing rental fees on an afterschool religious club when it waives the fees for the Boy Scouts and most school-related groups and charitable events.

U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson of Newport News, Va., said in his Aug. 8 opinion that the rental policy of the Williamsburg-James City County school district likely violates the First Amendment rights of Child Evangelism Fellowship of Virginia, which sponsors the afterschool Good News Clubs promoting Christianity among voluntary attendees.

The district’s “policy empowers its superintendent to decide which organizations are allowed to
have fee waivers without setting forth any concrete standards,” Judge Jackson said in granting the religious group’s request for a preliminary injunction.

The judge said the facts were similar to a 2006 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, in Richmond, Va. In that case, Child Evangelism Fellowship of South Carolina v. Anderson School District No. 5 , the appeals court held that a superintendent’s broad discretion to deny fee waivers to the Good News Club violated the First Amendment.

Although it dealt not with fee waivers but the question of whether such afterschool religious clubs could meet at all on school grounds, another instructive case in this general area is the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2001 decision in Good News Club v. Milford Central School.

Liberty Counsel, which helped win the Virginia injunction for Child Evangelism Fellowship, has this press release on the case.

A version of this news article first appeared in The School Law Blog.

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Speech Therapists
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
Elementary Teacher
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools
Elementary Teacher - Scholars Academy
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read