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 Monday (Feb. 17), 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.
Photo courtesy of Cash Atheos
Freshman Kalei Wilson will establish a chapter of Secular Student Alliance at Pisgah High School in Canton, N.C.
“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.”
(EDITOR'S NOTE – Kimberly Winston is a freelance religion reporter based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, The Dallas Morning News, USA Today, The Washington Post, The San Jose Mercury News and Newsweek.)