The following comes from an April 12 press release from Freedom From Religion Foundation:
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, with the Antelope Valley Freethinkers, are suing a California school district for censoring information about the groups’ scholarship opportunities.
The lawsuit was filed today in California federal court. Freedom From Religion Foundation, the Antelope Valley Freethinkers, and AVF President David Dionne are plaintiffs. The defendants are the Antelope Valley Union High School District and members of the district board of trustees.
The Antelope Valley Union High School District distributes lists of scholarship opportunities to district students, but for the past two years the district has refused to publish scholarship opportunities offered by FFRF and the Antelope Valley Freethinkers. The Freethinkers’ scholarship asked college-bound seniors to write essays on the topic, “Being a young freethinker in Antelope Valley,” with a total award money of $1,750. Freedom From Religion Foundation’s rejected essay competition for college-bound high school seniors (with more than $7,500 in cash prizes) offered students a chance to write on the topic of “Young, bold and nonbelieving: Challenges of being a nonbeliever of color” or “Why I’m Good Without God: Challenges of being a young nonbeliever.”
The district said it was rejecting the scholarships because the essay announcements would upset parents, claiming that they that they appeared to “promote anti-religious expression” and had “aggressive” and “argumentative undertones towards religion.” Offers to modify the wording were rejected.
In 2014, Freedom From Religion Foundation sent the district two letters objecting to the district’s censorship. In her response at the end of the year, the district’s general counsel, Bridget L. Cook, stated that “since the district is a limited public forum, we reserve the right to determine what information we allow to be disseminated in our schools.”